Parents of Rehtaeh Parsons, Amanda Todd to join PM at meeting

05/09/2013 08:19 EDT | Updated 07/09/2013 05:12 EDT
Prime Minister Stephen Harper will be at a cyberbullying forum Friday in Winnipeg with the family members of several teenagers whose deaths have cast a spotlight on the issue.

The parents of Rehtaeh Parsons and the mother of Amanda Todd will be among those joining Harper at a roundtable meeting that is being hosted by the Canadian Child Protection Centre.

Public Safety Minister Vic Toews will also be at the meeting, along with officials with the child protection centre, Kid's Help Phone and PREVNet (Promoting Relationships and Eliminating Violence Network).

The deaths of Todd and Parsons have sparked international attention and brought the problem of cyberbullying to the forefront in recent months.

Todd, 15, of Port Coquitlam, B.C., took her own life last fall after posting a video on YouTube describing how she had been tormented by bullying online and how she had struggled with depression.

Parsons, from Nova Scotia, was taken off life support on April 7 after attempting suicide a few days earlier. She was 17 years old.

According to Parsons's mother, four boys sexually assaulted her daughter when she was 15. Rehtaeh was then said to have been mocked by classmates, enduring relentless harassment and humiliation after a photo of the attack was circulated at her Cole Harbour, N.S. school and on social media.

Also on the guest list for Friday's meeting is the mother of Jenna Bowers-Bryanton, a 15-year-old Nova Scotia girl who committed suicide in 2011 after she was harassed at school and through a social networking website.

Another parent who will be attending the roundtable is the mother of Kimberly Proctor, 18, who was raped, tortured and murdered near Victoria B.C., in 2010. She had been lured online by two teenage boys who killed her.