Vancouver, Nov 30: Port Coquitlam in western Canada’s British Columbia province has become the first city to impose an anti-bullying law that prohibits consensual fighting in public places.
Offenders will be fined between 100 Canadian dollars (around $100) and 2,000 Canadian dollars, depending on how long they take to pay, Xinhua reported.
The measure, in the city of 56,000 people, is based on an existing bylaw in Regina, Saskatchewan, a prairie province in Canada.
The law defines bullying as “objectionable comment, conduct or display directed at an individual” that intends to humiliate, ridicule or isolate, and likely to cause physical or emotional distress.
Port Coquitlam mayor Greg Moore said it was clear that bullying had to stop as his small community experienced 14 suicides last year.
Speaking at the launch of the “Be Somebody” anti-bullying campaign, he emphasized that the law was also designed to help offenders realize the consequences of their actions by taking an anti-bullying education programme.
The “Be Somebody” programme is a collaboration between businesses, schools, police, youth groups and others, and includes online resources for victims and bullies who want assistance to change, and education for parents to recognize the signs of bullying.
A mobile phone text message platform is also currently in development to provide students with a quick way to report bullying or to seek help or counselling.
The “Be Someone” programme was created following the Oct 10 death of Amanda Todd.
The 15-year-old Port Coquitlam resident killed herself following years of bullying. As a 12-year-old, she had made the mistake of flashing her breasts on a web camera. The torment of the incident would follow her for the rest of her short life as she was bullied both physically and mentally.
Her plight was highlighted by a homemade video she posted online prior to her death, detailing her misery and how she had been bullied, saying nothing but letting only handwritten flashcards tell her story.
Following her suicide, the video went viral and has been seen by 20 million viewers.