Nova Scotia

What happened to Rehtaeh Parsons 'just wouldn't happen now,' says mother

Leah Parsons says she's glad Nova Scotia is implementing recommendations made by independent review.

Leah Parsons says she's glad Nova Scotia is implementing recommendations made by independent review

Rehtaeh Parsons was 17 years old when she died in 2013 after being taken off life support, three days after attempting to take her own life. (Instagram)

Rehtaeh Parsons' mother says she's relieved to hear Nova Scotia has now implemented most of the recommendations made after an independent review of her daughter's case.

"There's no way a photo would just continue circulating for 17 months without anyone stepping in to do something. That just wouldn't happen now," said Leah Parsons.

Parsons was 17 when she was taken off life-support in April 2013 after attempting suicide. Before her death, she told her family she had been photographed being sexually assaulted at a party and that she had been mercilessly bullied online for months.

The review, released by lawyer Murray D. Segal in October 2015, highlighted errors that were made during the initial police investigation and public prosecution response to the case, but also offered 17 recommendations.

On Wednesday, the province announced 14 of those recommendations have been put into practice and that the remaining three are underway.​

Prioritizing investigations involving young people

One of the recommendations was to have police prioritize investigations involving young people and persons in crisis. Both Leah Parsons and the Segal report noted Rehtaeh's investigation took too long.

"Their mental health suffers so quickly that when we're dealing with youth in the courts we can't just keep postponing it, that it has to be done pretty succinct and in an orderly kind of way," Parsons said.

Parsons also praised a commitment to getting more schools to talk about the dangers of cyberbullying, but she wants it to go a step further.

"It's important to go in and talk about cyber abuse and cyber harassment," Parsons said. "It's also really important to get to the root of that. Why do youth feel the need to do that?"

With files from Sabrina Fabian