A Marshall Liberal Government will protect our children by taking serious action to tackle bullying in our schools.
Our package of measures will include:
Our approach will be evidence-based and comprehensive – covering the broad spectrum of things children and teenagers may be bullied about as opposed to the very narrow approach of ‘Safe Schools’.
It will ensure that school policies can prevent bullying, respond to bullying and ensure that those engaged in bullying know there are serious consequences for their actions.
Studies show that more than one in four, just under 30 per cent, of students in Australia in years 4 to 9 are bullied every few weeks or more.
These figures drastically increase for the number of students experiencing cyber bullying, with one report identifying as many as 64% of young women in years 6 to 12 being cyber bullied.
Community concern about this issue has grown – and justifiably so. There have been well publicised examples of fatal consequences for young South Australians who had their whole lives ahead of them. These wounds cannot be healed but the tragedies are a call to action for our state.
Even in less extreme cases, bullying has both short-term effects, with rates of depression and anxiety sky rocketing among young people, and long-term effects with bullying affecting many children well into their adult life.
Despite evidence that bullying can be reduced through school-based interventions, the so-called ‘Safe Schools Anti-bullying Initiative’ is the only anti-bullying program financially supported by the Weatherill Government.
This program focuses exclusively on supporting LGBTI students which, while critically important, should not be at the expense of the many children who are victims of bullying for reasons unrelated to sexuality or gender identity.
Our children deserve to undertake their studies in a safe and nurturing educational environment, free from harassment, discrimination and bullying.
That’s why we will do everything we can to stamp out bullying at the earliest opportunity.