SA anti-bullying plan unveiled by State Government

Sport clubs and community groups will have to show their capacity to stop children being bullied in order to receive grants, under a new State Government strategy.

The plan aims to reduce bullying by treating it as a whole-of-community problem, not just one for schools.

Bullying prevention guidelines will be established under the Children and Young People (Safety) Act, which already requires many organisations to provide child-safe environment compliance statements.

These include sport clubs, childcare, disability and health services, cultural and arts groups, play gyms and tutors.

“Compliance with the child-safe environments legal requirements (including adoption of the bullying prevention guidelines) will be considered in applications for grants from the South Australian Government for child-related funding,” the anti-bullying plan states.

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It says:

A MAJOR consultation with sporting codes will be done by the Commissioner for Children and Young People to develop “child-designed bullying prevention initiatives”.

A RECREATION program will be trialled in the Playford Council area to boost kids’ community involvement “which is a protective factor against bullying”.

TEACHERS will be trained to effectively respond to parents’ concerns on bullying.

THE Flinders University-designed PEACE Pack anti-bullying program will be rolled out in more public schools.

Half of SA children in Years 4-10 report being bullied monthly and one in five weekly, according to a survey of 75,000 students last year.

The strategy says rises in bullying reports may reflect “genuine increases”, but could also be due to greater awareness and identifying of bullying, simpler reporting processes and more confidence it will be addressed.

The anti-bullying plan targets the wider community. Picture: File
media_cameraThe anti-bullying plan targets the wider community. Picture: File

“For these reasons, the success of the strategy will be evaluated through measuring the reduction in the number of children being re-victimised by bullying and the number of children re-engaging in bullying,” it says.

Education Minister John Gardner said bullying “doesn’t start and finish at the school gate” and it was also up to sport clubs and community groups to model respectful behaviour.

UniSA bullying expert Barbara Spears, pictured, said the plan was “groundbreaking”: “This is the first time any Australian jurisdiction has taken a community-wide approach to managing rates of bullying behaviours … reflecting an advanced understanding of the problem and a progressive approach to the solution.”

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