TORONTO, Sept. 27, 2012 /CNW/ - The Supreme Court of Canada unanimously recognized today that children and youth need assurances of confidentiality and anonymity when seeking help. The Court's decision in the case, which concerns the privacy request of a teenage girl from Nova Scotia who wants to pursue a lawsuit against her perpetrator for defamation, is being celebrated by Kids Help Phone, the Canadian and world leading counselling service known for its expertise in providing free, anonymous and confidential professional counselling services to children and youth.
"We are thrilled by this landmark decision, and honoured to have assisted the Court in coming to this verdict" says Alisa Simon, Kids Help Phone Vice-President of Counselling Services and Programs. "A primary concern of the young people who reach out to us is the assurance that whatever they share with us is protected, no matter what. Sharing one's struggles in an anonymous and confidential environment means that no one will come knocking on your door demanding explanations or apologies or doling out punishment. It means kids can truly say whatever is on their mind, and we, the adults in their lives, can work towards offering them the support they need".
As an intervener, Kids Help Phone, via attorneys at Osler, Hoskin and Harcourt who provided pro bono support, was invited to provide context on the critical role confidentiality and anonymity play for young people when seeking help for cyberbullying. Drawing on 23 years of experience with young people, Kids Help Phone reminded the Supreme Court that without privacy, many young people would simply not seek assistance for fear of being exposed to further stigmatization.
"Cyberbullying is a serious issue for young people in Canada and the effects can be devastating. Unfortunately the majority of young people believe they have little recourse when it comes to cyberbullying" reminds Simon. "We are pleased that the Supreme Court recognized the constructive assistance of Kids Help Phone in rendering its verdict. Any strategy moving forward to address children's issues and rights must be premised upon the experiences and realities of young people. And what we know, is in order for kids, teens and young adults to look for the support they need, we need to provide a safe environment where they will not fear being exposed to further potential physical, emotional or social threats" concludes Kids Help Phone's Alisa Simon.
About Kids Help Phone
Kids Help Phone is a Canadian and world leader, known for our expertise in providing vital, innovative counselling services to children and youth in English and French. Since 1989 we have offered children, teens and young adults in Canada a critical lifeline of hope and support through our free, anonymous and confidential service. Our professional counsellors support the mental health and well-being of young people ages five to 20, in urban, rural, and remote communities, by providing one-on-one counselling, information and resources by phone and online. A community-based national charity, Kids Help Phone receives no core government funding and relies on community and corporate support to keep our essential service available. We're there for the 6.5 million young people in Canada, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year
SOURCE: Kids Help Phone
For further information:
To set up an interview about Kids Help Phone' Supreme Court decision on the need to protect young people's anonymity and confidentiality, please contact:
Pascale Guillotte, Director of Communications
416-581-8974 / 1-800-268-3062 ext. 8974