Student Rights

Free legal help for students, parents & caregivers

Students and confidential school counselling

Can school guidance counsellors pass on things I tell them?

No. Anything you tell a school guidance counsellor is confidential and they can’t tell other school staff or your parents, unless you agree to particular things being passed on.

There’s an exception to this when there are serious issues that justifies the counsellor passing on the information. They can do this if they believe on reasonable grounds that:

  • there’s a serious danger, in the immediate or foreseeable future, to you or someone else, or
  • you’re likely to be harmed or abused (whether physically, sexually or emotionally) or neglected, and you’re under 17.

What can I do if a guidance counsellor passes on things I’ve told them?

In these cases you can complain to the Health and Disability Commissioner, the New Zealand Association of Counsellors, or another professional body the counsellor belongs to.

You can find out about how to complain about a counsellor, including about a breach of confidence, by going to the website of the Association of Counsellors –