On Wednesday, February 15, about a hundred people participated of the Réseau d’échange et de soutien aux actions locales (RÉSAL), of which the ICPC is a coordinating member. The colloquium, which took place at the Centre St-Pierre, in Montreal, focused on the prevention of cyber-violence. The day was filled with engaging meetings, discussions, workshops and “braindates”.
The event began with opening remarks from Roselyne Mavungu, Director General of the Centre for the Prevention of Radicalization Leading to Violence (CPRLV), who highlighted the critical need for organizations and institutions to collaborate and work together in preventing cyber-violence, particularly among young people. Pier Alexandre Lemaire, Urban Safety Advisor for the City of Montreal’s Diversity and Social Inclusion Department, followed with an overview of RÉSAL’s past activities, emphasizing the importance of networking and the value of face-to-face interactions after three years of primarily online engagement.
Khaoula El Kahlil, Research Advisor at the CPRLV, moderated the first panel of the day, on ”Crossed views on cyber-violence”, and featured experts from various fields. Detective Sergeant, Maya Alieh, of the Montreal Police Department (SPVM) gave a presentation on key considerations to keep in mind regarding cyber investigations and how to intervene when faced with incidents of cyber violence on social networks. Stéphane Villeneuve, professor and director of the program in digital integration in the school environment at the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM), presented research on cyberbullying in the school environment as well as a means to better understand and prevent these situations, i.e. a training program offered to Quebec teachers. Dominique Gagné and Dave Poitras, scientific advisors from the National Institute of Public Health of Quebec (INSPQ), concluded the panel with a presentation on findings and proposed solutions to prevent cyber-violence in relationships
After the first panel, both panelists and participants were divided into different groups to delve deeper into current issues and best practices for preventing cyber-violence. These discussions were organized by the event’s partner, Braindate, allowing participants to share their experiences and insights with each other.
The afternoon was divided into four workshops: The first workshop, facilitated by Jeanne Plisson, Community Support Coordinator, and Sarah Grenier, Community Support Advisor, at the CPRLV, addressed ”online hate speech”. In this workshop, participants learned about definitions of hate speech, the different possible forms that hate can take and the prevailing motives for it to occur. They also presented different tools used to prevent and respond to hate speech incidents, primarily in schools.
The second workshop offered, led by Akim Laniel-Lanani, co-founder of the Clinique de cyber-criminologie at the School of Criminology at the Université de Montréal (UdeM), focused on “cyber-hygiene”. Akim presented an overview of the use of social networks by youth before discussing useful tools and resources available to promote healthy online habits.
UdeM criminology professor Isabelle Ouellet-Morin led a third workshop that provided participants with an opportunity to learn more about the research that led to the creation of the “+Fort” mobile application. This app, a collaboration of several Quebec researchers created by the Axel Centre, aims to help youth and school professionals combat and overcome harassment and cyberstalking.
The fourth workshop of the day, “Getting Connected to Equality”, was led by Léna Gauthier-Paquette, support officer for the sexuality education program of L’Anonyme. The workshop focused on a project that aims to equip youth aged 12 to 25 to develop egalitarian, safe and consensual relationships by initiating a reflection on the sharing of real and virtual public space between genders. This activity allowed participants to understand the manifestations of stereotypes, power dynamics and sexism online through an overview based on the organization’s research. The day concluded with exchanges between participants and closing remarks from the CPRLV.
Please note that proceedings of the conference will soon be published online.