Government of Canada Supports Initiatives to Fight Youth Exploitation
April 15, 2019 – Saint-Jérôme, Quebec – Department of Justice Canada
Canadians expect to live in a society where the criminal justice system is fair, impartial and respectful of the needs of victims, including children and youth victimized by crime, exploitation or self-exploitation.
Today, the Honourable David Lametti, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, announced support for a project by the St. Jérôme Police Service (SPVSJ) to create a standardized response kit known as “SEXTO.” The project aims to help law enforcement, judicial and school officials respond to the problem of youth sexting. Funding in excess of $77,000, provided through the Government of Canada’s Youth Justice Fund, is helping expand access to the “SEXTO” kit in Quebec as a tool to prevent youth exploitation by peers. These funds also support responder training on how to use the kits to ensure that appropriate action is taken following an incident.
The project, which earned the 2017 Minister of Justice National Youth Justice Policing Award, aims to quickly and effectively deal with youth self-exploitation, which includes sexting and transmitting photos or videos of a sexual nature via SMS. These kinds of incidents can have serious repercussions on the youth involved and can lead to bullying and even suicidal thoughts.
The Youth Justice Fund provides grants and contributions to projects that encourage a more effective youth justice system, respond to emerging youth justice issues and enable greater citizen and community participation.
“I am pleased to support deployment of the “SEXTO” kit in Quebec, an innovative and award-winning response tool designed to confront the growing phenomenon of peer exploitation. By supporting this project, we are helping to transform the justice system by reducing the response time of various police, judicial and school officials, to reduce the consequences of sexting for the youth involved. We are helping children and youth better understand the risks and impacts associated with this growing issue.”
The Honourable David Lametti, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada
“The Sexto project was created thanks to a parternship between the Saint-Jérôme Police Service, the Director of Criminal and Penal Prosecutions, the Canadian Centre for Child Protection and many educational organizations. Despite our distinct mandates, we work together toward the same goal: the best of interest of youth. Sharing the expertise of each of our partners enabled us to limit the spread of initimate images, to standardize our responses and to reduce the consequences for victims. When an incident of self-exploitation occurs, the consequences are felt not only by the young victims but by the whole community. That’s why it is essential to continue our efforts to combat this growing issue.”
Martin Pelland, Inspector
Saint-Jérôme Police Service
The SEXTO project standardizes response methods and includes an awareness campaign to educate youths about the risks involved in producing, possessing and distributing pornography.
The SEXTO kit project was developed in accordance with the principles of the Youth Criminal Justice Act since it serves the needs of youth. It considers the victims’ interests, and it promotes accountability through meaningful measures as well as rehabilitation and reintegration.
The creators of the sexting response project for youths, Lieutenant Serge Boivin and Constable Robin Pouliot of the St-Jérôme Police Service, received the 2017 Minister of Justice National Youth Justice Policing Award for an awareness initiative entitled: “Campagne sexto: reflète la bonne image de toi et pas obligé de tout partager.”
The SEXTO project was done in partnership with the Saint-Jérôme Police Service, the City of Saint-Jérôme, the youth prosecutors in the Province of Québec, the Commission scolaire de la Rivière-du-Nord, l’Académie Lafontaine, the Canadian Centre for Child Protection and the Québec Ministry of Public Security.
For more information, media representatives may contact:
Office of the Minister of Justice
Department of Justice Canada
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