Young People’s Voices Count

After multiple high school basketball coaches in Montreal were charged with sex crimes involving minors, there has been a push for the government to create a new law protecting students.

An organization called “Young People’s Voices Count”, which is made up of basketball organizations and groups supporting survivors of sexual violence, has been pushing the Quebec government to pass legislation to better protect its province’s students.

Individuals in the organization stated that adults that aren’t trained in this area do not know how to react when they hear allegations of sexual violence. Additionally, if an adult were to ignore the issue, there are currently no repercussions. The basketball community is saying that this lack of training and failure to report led to the continued abuse by the Montreal teachers. In essence, the repugnant behaviour was tolerated.

Additionally, due to the basketball program’s reputation and consistent success, individuals were deterred from speaking out against it. Girls in the program stated they felt like “possessions” due to the coaches’ behaviour.

Fortunately, the Quebec government has been responsive. The Minister of Education has tabled a bill to reform the student ombudsman. A move that many are hoping will lead to real change to help protect students and young athletes from sexual violence and other abuse.

Originally reported in

If you or anyone you know has been the victim of sexual and/or physical abuse and is searching for legal rights and remedies, Slater Vecchio LLP is here to help. Please contact us for a free, private, confidential meeting.

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Nicole Kelly
Nicole is a member of Slater Vecchio's class action practise group where she advocates for survivors harmed by institutional abuses.