Topics: Child Abuse, Education

Children's Commissioner calls for recording of bullying stats

By Mānia Clarke
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The Children's Commissioner is calling on the government to enforce annual reporting by schools on their bullying rates and their prevention guidelines. 

Judge Andrew Becroft says despite efforts by schools - bullying by students to students continues.

“I know it will all add to the burdens of schools in terms of centralised reporting, but I'd call upon the government to insist that schools annually report on rates of bullying in their schools so we can see whether bullying is increasing or decreasing,” says Becroft.

A bullying prevention and response guide, and tools and resources on a Bullying Free NZ website are on offer to schools, school boards, parents, and community.

Police have been operating the Kia Kaha anti-bullying programme in schools since 1991.

“The challenge for leaders and community is to be able to recognise when a situation such as these have happened and to deal with them in a timely manner,” said NZ Principals Federation President, Whetu Cormick.

“I think the time has come to say that every school must report on what bullying prevention guidelines it has in place,” said Becroft, “how bullying is measured in the school.”

Education Minister Chris Hipkins says although there is a number of existing programmes in place that have shown promising results, there's clearly more that can be done.

“Sadly it seems that 30 percent use those guidelines,” said Becroft. “We need to know for sure that every school has a set of guidelines and that they're working.”

Becroft says a zero-tolerance to bullying needs to be adopted by all schools immediately alongside the wider community and homes to stem out a kiwi culture of abuse.