County’s Youth Commission prepares to present its recommendations

18/08/2015

Members of the Sussex Youth Commission (SYC) are carrying out their final discussions with young people across the county as they prepare to draw their ‘Big Conversation’ on policing and crime to a close.

Over 1,000 conversations have already taken place on five key topics:

• Hate crime
• Cyber-bullying and online harassment
• Drug and alcohol abuse
• Supporting young offenders and victims of crime
• The relationship between young people and the police

Members have consulted young people from a wide range of backgrounds – from those who have experienced crime first-hand to those who have found themselves on the wrong side of the law.

A recent workshop brought members of the Youth Commission and the National Citizen Service (NCS) together to discuss cyber bullying and the police’s role in preventing online harassment.

Many of the young people who shared their views felt that a lot of the issues surrounding online harassment came from people not understanding the law and their rights online.

SYC member Cara Exall, from Warnham, helped facilitate the workshop. She said: “It was really insightful to hear everyone’s views and opinions on cyber-bullying and how they thought it could and should be policed. Many young people feel the police don’t have the skills or the resources to deal with these types of issues that are taking place online, so this was their opportunity to ask questions about what more can be done to tackle cyber bullying and learn about the measures in place to protect them.

“People can find it difficult to know how to behave online – there’s a fine line between banter and bullying. I’m no technology whiz kid, despite being born to the digital generation, and learning things about online anonymity, including the law around tracking a person’s ip address has helped me greater understand the challenges police face.”

NCS participants at the event said:
“We need to raise awareness of the effect that cyber bullying has on young people, such as anxiety and depression. These are serious mental health problems.”

“If online bullies received more serious punishments it could deter it from happening.”

“I think confronting the person face to face and making an example out of them being an online troll would help address the problem.”

On 23rd September, at a Conference being held at the American Express Community Stadium in Falmer, members will present all their findings and recommendations to the Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner, Chief Constable and guests from the voluntary sector, local government, charities and educational establishments involved in children and young people’s services across Sussex.

Delegates at the Conference will discuss how to turn these recommendations into positive and meaningful outcomes for the police and other organisations working with young people in Sussex.

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