How you can be an angel of hope in the war against bullies

THE power to end bullying is in your hands.

Today's National Day of Action Against Bullying and Violence is the perfect opportunity for our region to back a call for harsher punishments to be imposed on those who victimise kids.

National anti-bullying campaign Angels Hope wants all Australians to join its fight to change state and territory criminal codes to reflect bullying's impact.

Research shows about 26% of Aussie school students are bullied.

And 9% face harassment each week.

Angels Hope co-founder Reuben Cunningham said changing laws could change lives.

Chloe emerges from six years of abuse a bullying survivor

"These laws would create a major difference to all children by making those that are continuously bullying accountable and responsible for their actions," Mr Cunningham said.

"It would link the education and criminal acts together, so that in cases where bullying tragically results in the loss of life, there would be accountability."

"It also enables institutions like schools to be able to take more proactive measures to address and educate students about bullying.

"While we educate our children on bullying we cannot demonstrate to them the link between action and consequences as the law doesn't provide that level of protection."

Clinical psychologist Michelle Gopold urged parents to arm their children with the tools they needed to cope with abuse.

She suggested parents be responsive - not reactive; listen and empathise with their young ones; help brainstorm and problem-solve the issue; and be transparent and open about bullying.

"Parents are often in the best position to provide support to their children to cope with bullying," she said.

"While it is important for parents to consider the type of suggestions or advice they give to their children, parents also need to consider the manner in which these are provided and the underlying messages and modelling their children are receiving about dealing with bullying."

To sign the Angels Hope petition visit http://www.angelshope.org.au/petitions.

- ARM Newsdesk
 

HELP IS AT HAND

ReachOut: au.reachout.com.

Bullying No Way: http://www.bullyingnoway.gov.au.

Kids Helpline: kidshelpline.com.au or 1800 55 1800.

 

BY THE NUMBERS

Percentage of students impacted by bullying:

YEAR NSW QLD Australia
Year 4 31.8% 22.6% 27.4%
Year 5 39.8% 26.4% 32.2%
Year 6 34.1% 24.1% 24.6%
Year 7 20.9% 27.8% 23.9%
Year 8 28.9% 35.2% 29.1%
Year 9 22% 30.9% 23.6%

Source: Angels Hope


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