Anti-bullying site fights back

  • 16/05/2016
Makoto, who requested that his last name not be used, poses for a photograph as he looks at his cell phone which became an instrument of mental torture that nearly drove him to suicide when he was a high school student in Tokyo October 22, 2007. For many Japanese children, a cell phone is a social lifeline they can't imagine being without. Cyber bullying is a global problem, but in Japan it is almost endemic due to rampant bullying in schools. Picture taken October 22, 2007.  To match feature JAPAN-CYBERBULLYING   REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao (JAPAN) - RTX8Q7

A new online resource to support schools and their communities has launched in an effort to combat schoolyard bullying: www.BullyingFree.NZ.

The site features the experiences of schools and students as well as bullying prevention research, resources and interactive tools.

The launch marks the start of Bullying-free NZ Week, starting today, which schools around the country are marking with a range of bullying prevention awareness activities.

It includes video clips made by Year 7 and 8 students from St Francis de Sales School in Wellington, made especially for Bullying-free NZ Week with support from their local Police school community officer.

Police community services manager Inspector Paula Holt says the project is a great example of schools working with their wider community to get the message out that bullying is never okay.

"Police are committed to partnering with communities, in particular schools, to help reduce bullying. But this isn't just a school or a police problem and that's a real strength of the work that the multi-agency group has initiated to address what is a very serious problem amongst young people in New Zealand.

"We also seized the opportunity to work with St Francis de Sales children to capture their voices as part of the first Bullying-free NZ Week.

"I think these videos really make the issue of bullying come alive in some creative and thought provoking ways," Insp Holt says.

BullyingFree.NZ is the latest initiative from the Bullying Prevention Advisory Group, a collaboration between 17 organisations committed to reducing bullying in New Zealand schools.

The group, which features representatives from across the education, social, justice and health sectors as well as Sport NZ and NetSafe, formed in 2013 after feedback from principals indicated schools needed more support to manage bullying.

The collaboration has previously produced Bullying Prevention and Response: A Guide for Schools.

Children's Commissioner Russell Wills says the website is a good example of "taking the messages from the Guide, and what we've learned from schools and young people, and making that more accessible".

"You can look at this website and know that what we're suggesting has worked already in schools and can work in your school."