Minister Welcomes UK Safer Internet Training Instructors

Internet safety has become an increasingly pressing issue to address, especially in the age of modern technology.

I believe our education, training, and legal frameworks must keep pace with our growing reliance on the Internet to protect society’s most vulnerable – young people.

It is alarming to read from the Director of Public Prosecutions that they’ve seen an uptick in complaints among young people in Bermuda over the past few years in the sharing of intimate images. They experience the devastating impact it has on their lives, such as exposure, humiliation, embarrassment, or reputational damage.

She added, “The stress and trauma imposed on the victims of such acts and their families are far-reaching since once the intimate images have been shared digitally without consent, it is difficult or impossible to contain them from spreading like wildfire”. These revelations are shocking and should be of grave concern to us all.

This brings us to today’s announcement. This week, the Ministry of Youth, Social Development, and Seniors has facilitated training sessions in collaboration with the UK Foreign Commonwealth Development Office, providing vital funding to raise awareness of preventing and addressing technology-facilitated gender-based violence.

Dedicated instructors from the UK Safer Internet Centre have been on the island facilitating these sessions designed to reach a broad

cross-section of children and adults in Bermuda on how to put their safety first, report harmful internet content, and not give in to manipulation and threats from sextortion on the internet.
The UK Safer Internet Centre is one of three non-profit charities that have partnered to provide international safeguarding advice and advance positive online safety practices and policies.

The training schedule this week includes:
• face-to-face training for public Middle school students;

• 90-minute training sessions for non-profit organizations inclusive of the Women’s Resource Centre, the Centre Against Abuse, the Coalition for the Protection of Children, SCARS and Age Concern;

• 90-minute training sessions for Government Ministries and Departments who work with children including the Bermuda Police Services, the Department of Public Prosecutions, Legal Aid and the Ministry of Legal Affairs; members of the National Child Safeguarding Committee and the MARAC;

Aspecialtrainingsessionforschoolcounsellorsand education therapists in both the public and private schools;

A training session for all social workers the Department of Child & Family Services and;
A session for the Department of Education staff, school principals and deputies; and, a combined school online virtual training session for all parents of public and private schools.

You may recall in June 2021 the Criminal Code Amendment (Non- Consensual Sharing of Intimate Images) Act 2021 was amended, making it a criminal offence to distribute intimate images of another person, visual recordings and making threats to distribute material without their consent.

It is our aim that the delivery of the training sessions to the various stakeholder groups will underscore and lend to Bermuda’s Revenge Porn legislation already in place; encourage greater collaboration between non-profit making entities serving children and adults with

support services; and raise awareness for the general public at large. I am pleased to say this training aligns with the National Youth Policy which strives to “Keep Young People Safe and Protected from Harm” through educating young people about staying safe online; and, secondly with the National Child Safeguarding Policy Paper which sets out a national vision for collaboratively safeguarding Bermuda’s children.

On behalf of the Ministry, we are grateful for these funds from the UK FCDO to help raise awareness in Bermuda and the support it provides to organizations that work with children. It is, undoubtedly, a vital service being provided to the community for the benefit of generations to come.

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