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 eventful for participants and panelists, with a series of meetings, discussions, workshops and “braindates”.
The event began with opening remarks by Roselyne Mavungu, Director General of the Centre for the Prevention of Radicalization Leading to Violence (CPRLV), who stressed the importance of organizations and institutions working together to prevent cyber-violence among youth. Then, Pier Alexandre Lemaire, Urban Safewty Advisor for the City of Montreal’s Diversity and Social Inclusion Department, followed highlighting RÉSAL’s activities. He also emphasized the importance of networking, as well as the importance of being able to meet in person, after three years of online activities.
Khaoula El Kahlil, Research Advisor at the CPRLV, moderated the first panel of the day, on ”Crossed views on cyber-violence”, with experts from various fields. Detective Sergeant, Maya Alieh, of the Montreal Police Department (SPVM) gave a presentation on key considerationsto keep in mind regarding cyber investigations and how to intervene when her team is 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 research and solutions to prevent cyber-violence in relationships.
Panelists and participants then divided into different groups to discuss current issues around to cyber-violence prevention. These discussions were organized by the event’s partner, Braindate, allowing participants to share their experiences 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 promotehealthy online habits.
UdeM criminology professor Isabelle Ouellet-Morin leda 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.