A new national approach for preventing and dealing with bullying involving children and young people has been launched by Children's Minister Adam Ingram.
The national approach, developed by the Scottish Anti-bullying Steering Group - the body which promotes anti-bulling work in Scotland - will:
- Create a national framework for tackling bullying by promoting a common vision and aims, and ensuring that all agencies and communities are working together, in a consistent way to deal with the problem
- Clarify how through a range of roles and responsibilities everyone can be involved in preventing and tackling bullying
- Define bullying in terms of the behaviour involved, reflecting the fact that it can occur in a range of settings, can come from children, young people and adults and can occur in cyberspace but recognise that in essence, the behaviour is the same and requires similar prevention methods
Under the approach all organisations are also expected to develop and implement an anti-bullying policy which should be reviewed on a regular basis. This should set out expectations and responsibilities for staff, children and young people, information on the strategies to be used, clarify how and how often the organisation will communicate its policy and to whom; and how parents will be informed of incidents. It should also include information on how often the policy will be evaluated to understand how effective it is.
Speaking at the respectme's annual conference in Glasgow - an event which coincides with national anti-bullying week, Mr Ingram said:
"We all want children to feel safe and secure - in school and out of school. Bullying behaviour can seriously affect this and should not, given is potentially long lasting consequences, be simply dismissed as normal part of growing up. It isn't.
"Our new national approach, developed by the Scottish Anti-Bullying Steering Group, follows extensive consultation with children's organisations, resulting in a strong consensus around what our approach to anti-bullying should be; what our roles and responsibilities are; and how we all contribute to this.
"It will also ensure that there is consistency across the country and between school and out of school groups, as to how best to tackle these problems in the interests of all our children."
Mary Docherty, ADES representative and Head of Education three to 18 in North Ayrshire, said:
"I very much welcome the publication of the National Approach to anti-bullying which is underpinned by the principles of Getting it Right for Every Child and Curriculum for Excellence. This very comprehensive document provides guidance for all services working with children and young people about effective practice in preventing and dealing with bullying. Safeguarding the child or young person's welfare is of paramount concern."
Alison Todd, Director of Children & Family Services for CHILDREN 1ST, said:
"We are delighted to be involved in a national approach to help tackle bullying. Bullying is a blight on childhood and affects thousands of children each year. By working together, we hope to change the attitude that bullying is an accepted part of growing up and work towards a society where children and young people live without the fear of being bullied."