Winnipeg, Canada — Our heavy hearts are with the Todd family following today’s sentencing decision for the Dutch man who tormented their 15-year-old daughter Amanda, who later died by suicide.
While nothing can ever take away the pain Amanda’s parents, Carol and Norm Todd, family and friends have dealt with since her death, it is encouraging that the Canadian justice system has done its part to make the offender accountable for these offences. We hope to see more of these types of offenders held accountable in this country for the harm they perpetrate on Canadian children.
Amanda was targeted online for almost three years by the offender. He sent more than 700 messages to her and her contacts using 22 aliases. No one should ever have to endure this kind of targeted assault online.
All of our systems are signalling that Canadian children are increasingly being preyed upon in digital environments by offenders, both here and abroad. The anonymity of the internet, its jurisdictional complexities, and the complete absence of meaningful online safeguards for children have made it easier than ever for offenders to relentlessly target their victims. Many more than we can imagine are fighting silently, as Amanda was, against online abusers.
Canadians must take urgent action. We must demand regulation and safety standards, as we do in all other areas of society, for online services and platforms our children use each day.
We owe it to Amanda Todd.