TORONTO, May 22, 2012 /CNW/ - On Tuesday May 22, Kids Help Phone will present arguments before the Standing Committee on Social Policy, currently examining Bill 13 and Bill 14. Kids Help Phone welcomes both bills 13 and 14 as ways to further address bullying and promote safe and inclusive school environments. Kids Help Phone supports the development of strategies and measures meant to promote supportive environments and healthy relationships; efforts to help to break through fear and stigma, and to enhance existing services, will help challenge peer violence and help increase the confidence of young people to seek assistance.
In particular, Kids Help Phone supports Bill 14's position to explicitly address and define cyberbullying, and supports the position taken by Bill 13, which prioritizes support for activities or organizations that promote gender equity, anti-racism, people with disabilities and people of all sexual orientations and gender identities.
Other recommendations made by Kids Help Phone include the implementation of thorough training meant to equip school personnel in understanding, identifying and effectively responding to acts of bullying; providing an environment where young people are encouraged to report in a safe manner - without retaliation, and encouraging the creation of a positive school culture where students are rewarded for pro-social behaviours.
Kids Help Phone would like to remind policy makers that young people are the "experts" on their own lives, and their engagement in such discussions is imperative.
"To best understand bullying, we need to listen to the experiences of affected young people. At Kids Help Phone, we are in a unique position as we hear, confidentially and anonymously, directly from young people in their own words." reminds Alisa Simon, VP Counselling Services and Programs at Kids Help Phone. "Any strategy to address bullying must be premised upon the experiences and realities of young people. And what we know is for our 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.
This month, Kids Help Phone is releasing its 2012 report "Cyberbullying: Reality Check". The report is an update to its 2007 report "Cyberbullying: Our Kids' New Reality", and identifies some of the trends in online behaviour that the professional youth counselling service users are navigating. To read the report, please visit http://org.kidshelpphone.ca/en/media-centre/publications
About Kids Help Phone
Kids Help Phone is Canada's leading online and phone counselling service for youth. It's free, it's anonymous and confidential, and it's available any time of the day or night, 365 days a year in English and in French. Professional counsellors support the mental health and well-being of young people, ages five to 20, by providing one-on-one counselling, information and resources. As a community-based national charity, Kids Help Phone receives no core government funding and relies on community and corporate support to fund its essential and vital service.
For further information:
To set up an interview about Kids Help Phone's presentation, please contact:
Pascale Guillotte, Director of Communications
416-581-8974 / 1-800-268-3062 ext. 8974