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After attending some ACT GLBTI groups it was reccomended that the GLLO's publish information that may assist people in the ACT GLBTI community. See below the first information for you.
The topic of school bullying has been in the news recently. Sadly it is an ongoing issue which never seems to go away. Schools are NOT the only places where bullying may occur. Bullying also occurs in workplaces, homes in the form of family violence and you could also argue that road rage is a modified form of bullying where the victim may vary from incident to incident.
Basically bullying is repeated unwanted attention from one person to another person. Sometimes it can be groups doing the bullying. Bullying always involves the abuse of power of one description or another (usually physical size) over someone is who less capable of standing up for themselves.
Sadly school bullies often end up committing other crimes and going to jail. Doing something early may help someone change their behaviours and prevent other victims being hurt.
When is bullying a criminal offence?
Assault - where a person is physically threatened & they are in fear of being injured OR are actually physically injured.
Property damage - where a person's property is deliberately damaged by another person.
Theft - where a person's property is stolen.
Child Pornography - where images of naked children under 18 years are sent to another person by email, phone, SMS etc regardless of whether the person photographed sends the images or NOT.
How do we eradicate bullying?
* Always report bullying. A bully's biggest power base is that of secrecy to prevent other parties moving in & stopping the violence. This is especially the case in family violence situations. Often a bully won't question their behaviour until a third party takes them to task.
* Safety in numbers. Ensure that students are NOT isolated in the playground because this may make them a target of bullies.
* Being visible. Another strategy is to play in playgrounds near where the teacher is standing so that bully's are less likely to target you.
* Peer support.
* If your friend is a bully - speak out against the undesired behaviours
* If your friend is a victim of bullying - speak up for them, and actively discourage the bully
* Use respectful language. Modern youth culture use the term "gay" to mean something that is bad or poor quality. It is important that this is actively discouraged because the term is also used to refer to homosexuals. It is difficult enough for young people to identify their sexual preference if it is against the 'social norms' of our society without having to deal with language that denigrates them.
* Respect difference. It is a major contradiction in Australian society that we value difference and celebrate the multicultural composition of our society, yet people who dare to be different are often the victims of bullying. It is very important that we teach students to be respectful of difference. If this occurs then as students leave school then there is an opportunity for Australian culture to change for the better.
* Respect for women. Why is that a man dressed in women's clothes is funny and invites laughter in comedy routines or ridicule in other forums. It is okay for men to wear cultural clothing such as Samoan sarong's, or Scottish kilts etc yet is not okay for men to wear other kinds of women's clothes such as skirts and heels. This can also be an issue for transgender and intersex people.
* Repairing relationships. When a bully apologises and make up for the harm done it empowers both the bully and the victim. Many schools are using restorative justice processes to achieve this because it mends the relationship as well as giving the bully and victim an opportunity to identify a solution together. Obviously, this process may take longer where the bullying has gone on unchecked for a long time.
* Reporting criminal offences. Where bullying is a criminal offence then the matter should be reported to police on 131444. If the situation is life threatening then the matter should be reported on 000. This is especially the case where independent witnesses have observed the incident and are prepared to give statements. Otherwise prosecutions are difficult when it is one person's word against another.
* Protection orders. In some cases protection orders can be helpful in ensuring that two parties are separated. Protection orders are NOT designed to stop bullying. Protection orders are taken out to PREVENT VIOLENCE. Protection orders should be a last resort and the wording of the protection order should be discussed with the school or workplace (if applicable) to ensure that the order is workable. It is important to note that people under 18years cannot take out a protection order, a guardian needs to take the order out on their behalf.
Other useful phone numbers
Domestic Crisis Violence Service (ACT) 6280 0900
Human Rights Commission 1300 656 419 (cost of a local call)
Harassment contact officers in your workplace
INFORMATION ACCESS (GLLO) JUDICIAL OPERATIONS ACT POLICING
Tel +61(0) 2 62457276 Ext 162276
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