New strategy to curb child bullying

A new strategy has been created to deal with the bullying of children and young people across South Australia.

In 2018 a survey of 75,000 children showed that 50pc of students in years 4 to 10 reported they had experienced bullying monthly while 18pc reported it happening weekly.

The South Australian Bullying Prevention Strategy has been created to encompass not only policy and prevention on school grounds, but also to reach the wider community.

State Education Minister John Gardner said the strategy was developed to look after the physical and mental wellbeing of all children and young people.

"Bullying doesn't start and finish at the school gate, it is a community-wide issue that demands a whole of community response," he said.

"Our children deserve to undertake their studies and live their lives in a safe and nurturing environment, free from harassment, discrimination and bullying.

"We want communities around children and young people to recognise and address bullying, to model positive and respectful behaviour within schools, sporting clubs and community groups."

The strategy was developed by the Education Department through the South Australian Bullying Prevention Coalition, which includes Catholic and Independent school sectors, the Commissioner for Children and Young People, government departments and leading bullying prevention researchers.

"Over the past 12 months, the Education Department has worked hard in driving several initiatives that support this strategy, including piloting the PEACE Pack initiative and supporting schools through with specialist staff such as Student Wellbeing Leaders and Behaviour Support Coaches," Mr Gardner said.

Some of the actions include:

  • strengthening bully prevention policy requirements and compliance measures in schools
  • providing evidence-based curriculum content for children to learn about bullying, cyberbullying and online safety
  • providing teachers with access to foundational training about supporting students who are at higher risk of bullying
  • piloting the Friendly Schools program across all public schools in the Greater Gawler partnership
  • providing new resources and training for teachers, students and families about bullying
  • piloting a community recreation program in the City of Playford, strengthening children's involvement in community programs
  • an initiative that will see young people advise decision makers and urban planners about the establishment of safe child and youth-oriented spaces; and
  • a comprehensive consultation process across the major sporting codes, led by the Commissioner for Children and Young People, to develop child-designed bullying prevention initiatives.