HALIFAX - Premier Darrell Dexter, today, April 11, asked Marilyn More, Minister responsible for the Advisory Council on the Status of Women, to co-ordinate Nova Scotia's response to the tragic events that led to the death of Rehtaeh Parsons.
"The past few days have shocked, horrified and saddened all of us," said Dexter. "I want the Parsons family to know that they have my support. They are in my thoughts and prayers. I, along with thousands of Nova Scotians and Canadians, stand behind them at this difficult time."
The province asked Halifax Regional School Board to review its response to the case. Justice Minister Ross Landry has also asked senior officials for options to review how police and the Public Prosecution Service handled the case.
"Government is prepared to look at everything to ensure that no family has to go through this same tragedy," said Dexter. "It is time to look for answers and it is a time that we as parents, government, and society, do all we can to ensure this tragic situation does not repeat itself."
More will be supported by Lynn Hartwell, associate deputy minister of the Department of Community Services. Hartwell will work with senior officials across government and provincial leaders in mental health, sexual assault, policing and education to identify options for system-wide improvements.
"Nova Scotia will learn from this terrible tragedy," said More. "Right now, it is a time to care and be kind to one another. Nova Scotians have pulled together in tragic times in the past, and they are doing so now.
"We will honour Rehtaeh's life by supporting each other more effectively in the future. Government is committing to a better co-ordinated system of supports and services."
"I want to thank Nova Scotians for supporting Rehtaeh's family, for respecting their privacy and their wish to not fight bullying with bullying," said Dexter. "They are in our hearts and minds as we build a plan forward and help each other through this."
Nova Scotians who are experiencing traumatic events are encouraged to access mental health services as quickly as possible. People can access emergency mental health services by calling the mental health crisis line at 1-888-429-8167. Staff will be able to offer some help on the phone and can direct people to the emergency room and let the hospital know they are coming. They can also direct people to the emergency services they need in their community, if they do not need the ER.
People can also access services by calling 211, 811, or by visiting an emergency room or family doctor.