In the wake of the death of a 12-year-old Prince George boy, the Kelowna RCMP is reminding the public about the dangers of sextortion.
Sextortion is the use of threats to extort money or sexually explicit favours from someone. In most cases, this happens on social media applications and online and in 2023 alone so far, the Kelowna RCMP has received more than 100 reports of online sextortion.
The RCMP recommends Cybertip.ca as a website with resources to learn about sextortion. The site has educational materials to help guide sextortion conversations with youth and children.
“Our children are increasingly using various online and texting apps including gaming, where they can communicate with people they may not know. This can potentially segue into a risk of sextortion and we must monitor their online activities,” said Kelowna RCMP media relations officer Const. Mike Della-Paolera. “The RCMP are encouraging victims of sextortion to reach out for help by reporting them to police. You are a victim and you will not be in trouble for reporting”.
Sextortion crimes have been increasing in B.C. yearly and are seen frequently in youth 13-18 years old.
Throughout this school year, the RCMP and members of the Kelowna Crown Counsel office have been invited to Grade 12 law classes to make presentations regarding the dangers of online communications and posting intimate images online. This is a part of the RCMP’s commitment to addressing this crime trend and has been received well by both teachers and students.
If you or anyone you know is the target of a sextortion attempt, the RCMP recommends all contact be cut with that person and all your accounts should be deactivated. If you need help, call 911, the Kelowna RCMP, or visit NeedHelpNow.ca and Cybertip.ca for support.