Nova Scotia cabinet minister to oversee response to death of Rehtaeh Parsons -

Nova Scotia cabinet minister to oversee response to death of Rehtaeh Parsons


HALIFAX – Nova Scotia Premier Darrell Dexter has appointed a cabinet minister to oversee the provincial government’s response to the death of Rehtaeh Parsons as it tries to quell a storm of anger over how authorities handled her case.

Marilyn More, the minister responsible for the status of women, will work with the ministers of justice, education, health and community services to assess support services for people who face sexual violence, Dexter said.

He told the legislature he wanted a timely response in order to satisfy the public’s concerns about Rehtaeh’s case.

“I will do everything in my power to create a community that is better equipped to prevent these situations, rather than a community that struggles to find a way to deal with them,” Dexter said.

He also said Rehtaeh’s family wanted him to publicly denounce violence as a means of addressing bullying.

“The family has asked today that I implore Nova Scotians not to take matters into their own hands.”

The RCMP have said they are aware of reports that some are suggesting harm against people involved in the Rehtaeh Parsons investigation.

The 17-year-old girl’s family says she hanged herself last week and was later taken off life-support following months of bullying after she was sexually assaulted by four boys and a photo of the alleged incident was distributed.

Dexter said he hopes a series of measures aimed at improving mental health services, policing and education will be rolled out as soon as possible.

The government has come under criticism after Justice Minister Ross Landry initially ruled out the possibility of reviewing how the RCMP handled allegations that Rehtaeh was sexually assaulted in November 2011.

Landry later changed course, saying he has asked senior officials for options to review how the Mounties and the Public Prosecution Service concluded there were insufficient grounds to lay charges against the boys.

Landry said Thursday he has asked federal Justice Minister Rob Nicholson for a meeting next week to discuss ways of improving the Criminal Code that would address bullying.

Education Minister Ramona Jennex has also asked the Halifax Regional School Board to review its response to Rehtaeh’s case.

A vigil at a Halifax park was planned later Thursday to commemorate Rehtaeh’s life, and the legislature agreed to adjourn early to allow members to attend.

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