Le Lézard
Classified in: Health
Subjects: CHI, PSF, CFG

Sextortion - a public safety crisis affecting our youth

WARNING: This news release contains mentions of self-harm and suicide.

OTTAWA, ON, Feb. 6, 2024 /CNW/ - On this Safer Internet Day, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) is reminding parents and the public about the prevalence of sextortion, a growing threat affecting our youth, particularly those in the 14 to 24 age range.

Sextortion is an online crime that affects youth in every province, territory, region and city across the country.

In some circumstances, victims can experience the extreme outcomes of sextortion, such as self harm or even suicide. Youth are being targeted at an alarming rate and with no regard to the impacts to them. Everyone has a responsibility to protect youth by reducing the stigma and encouraging youth to speak out if they or their friends are being targeted.

Being able to identify and recognize sextortion is the first step.

Sextortion is a form of online blackmail. Offenders often pose as girls of a similar age and use realistic accounts to target youth, deceiving and manipulating them into sending explicit photos or videos. The offender then threatens to release the sexual materials unless the victim sends them money, more images or both. These offenders are very good at what they do and use many techniques to threaten the victim. They will rely on emotional threats and aggressive behaviour to get the victim to send them what they want ? it is important to remember that there is help available and that there is life after images.

Even though sextortion is committed virtually, it can have serious impacts offline. After the threats and aggression, victims can be made to feel alone, ashamed, scared, and sometimes desperate. Countless children and adults in Canada and around the world have been threatened this way. There are resources and supports available to help. You are not alone.

Advice for youth who are being sextorted:
If you need help, there are resources available to you:

Sextortion is a serious crime that can be addressed though education and awareness. To those who have been affected, don't suffer in silence and don't feel ashamed. Speak with a trusted adult, seek out help from your local police and report this crime. You have the power to act, and we want to help you. Things will get better.

Mike Duheme
Commissioner, Royal Canadian Mounted Police

The RCMP and partners across Canada and internationally are working together to educate youth and to help them feel empowered when dealing with sextortion. If you think this is happening to you, know that you are not alone and there are many resources and people who can help. It is a scam that is trending, but together we can make it stop.  

Gord Sage
Chief Superintendent, Sensitive and Specialized Investigative Services, Royal Canadian Mounted Police

Our staff is on the front lines of this public safety emergency; we are receiving 10 reports of Canadian children being sextorted every day. The devastation of children cannot continue. Youth and their families need to know we are here to help them and they can access our support team through NeedHelpNow.ca. You do not need to deal with this incredibly difficult situation alone.

Lianna McDonald
Executive Director, the Canadian Centre for Child Protection

Quick facts
Associated links

SOURCE Royal Canadian Mounted Police

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