Children as Witnesses at Senate Committees: The Cyberbullying Hearings

Article 2 / 13 , Vol 36 No 4 (Winter)

Children as Witnesses at Senate Committees: The Cyberbullying Hearings

In December 2012, the Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights tabled its report Cyberbullying Hurts: Respect for Rights in the Digital Age. It followed a series of hearings in 2011 and 2012 where it closely examined the roles that stakeholders can play in addressing cyberbullying and the emerging best practices. The committee began this study by using the standard modus operandi for most parliamentary reviews – holding public meetings with experts, government officials, and representatives from stakeholder organizations. However, it was missing an important piece of the puzzle; the committee needed to hear from the children themselves. This article looks at how the committee went about the unusual task of hearing minor children as witnesses.