Barnardos children’s charity welcomes the publication of the Department of Education’s new Action Plan on Bullying. Society and children’s experiences of bullying has changed considerably since the publication of the last Action Plan in 2013, most notably in relation to social media and online interactions. The children’s charity says this refreshed strategy will better represent the behaviours, relationships and needs of children across Ireland today.
The charity welcomes the onus on schools to proactively outline the steps they will take to prevent and address bullying, and engage and involve children in the process, as a positive step in the right direction. Barnardos particularly commends the commitment to establish a unit within the Department of Education to promote the voice of children and young people to ensure they have meaningful input into the development of bullying policy.
Suzanne Connolly, Barnardos CEO said: ‘We know that childhood lasts a lifetime – and we see the first-hand impact that bullying can have on the wellbeing and development of children. It can lead to mental health issues such as anxiety, withdrawal in the home and school refusal.
“At Barnardos we provide evidence based support in hundreds of schools that aim to reduce bullying and aggressive behaviour among school children, such as our Roots of Empathy, National Wellbeing and Online Safety programmes. They achieve this by promoting social skills, increasing empathy, improving safe use of the internet and building coping mechanisms among schoolchildren.
“We look forward to working with more schools as they implement actions set out in the department’s plan, rolling out our programmes to benefit more children and further preventing and reducing bullying across the country.
By working with and listening to children we hope to help create a generation of empathetic and respectful children who are safe from bulling in schools and from online harm.”
Notes to editors:
For further information, please contact:
Barnardos Press Office: 086 0445966