Post submitted by CCRC Board Member, Lisa Wolff of UNICEF Canada:

The Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights released an important report for Canada’s children Wednesday, Cyberbullying Hurts: Respect for Rights in the Digital Age. The Committee’s key message is that focus is needed on prevention, mainly through digital citizenship information and education, with less default to punitive legal sanctions – which is a rising trend across the country. Witnesses emphasized that the courts are not the best place to resolve this problem, for victims or bullies, in most circumstances, and that restorative justice approaches can help mend relationships and communities. Now we are a step closer to a common understanding and a coordinated approach among policymakers, NGOs and other key stakeholders. The discussion and six recommendations addressed the need for the federal government to work with provincial and territorial governments to establish a coordinated strategy to address cyberbullying, supporting awareness and initiatives that are proving their effectiveness. The Committee underlined the need for a national Children’s Commissioner to support coordination and effective approaches and that Child Rights Impact Assessment is a tool that should be applied to all proposed legislation and policy that may have a significant impact upon children. A variety of responses were described that can help youth, parents, educators and others to respond to cyberbullying. Among the witnesses were young people, marking the first time a Senate committee has invited their testimony, according to the Committee – a real milestone. Along with their report, the Committee created a short guide for youth and one for parents to convey their findings – another first in the Senate.

See UNICEF Canada’s press release here.

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