A survey of over 20,000 Australian students revealed that gender plays a major role in the different types of bullying behaviour.
Girls are being bullied more often than boys and suffer online with tattle tales and disconnection from group chats, while in the classroom it is much more secretive with note passing most common.
To help address this issue and empower girls, Australian youth fashion brand Supré has launched an anti-bullying project which offers social and emotional learning, enabling students to develop the skills and confidence to appropriately respond to bullying.
In conjunction with headspace and the Telethon Kids Institute, the project takes a stand against school bullying behaviour through a Bullying Education and Prevention Resource Kit which is now available to schools across the country.
Supré’s general manager, Elle Roseby, told The Educator that the initiative has the power to create change across schools.
Roseby pointed out that as brand that talks to girls from 13 years of age, upwards and with a 98% female workforce, Supré has “great insight into the concerns, needs and dreams of young women”.
“Our team members revealed that most had been a victim of bullying and even more knew someone who had been affected by it. This only supports research that tells us that 1 in 4 Australian young people are bullied regularly – that’s one too many and all too often,” she said.
“We also know bullying is a significant predictor of mental health problems; it can cause social isolation, reduce school performance and lead to higher rates of anxiety and depression down the track. Simply, bullying has life-long effects.”
So as Supré’s inaugural project, it partnered with mental health organisation, headspace.
“We’ve also joined forces with some incredible experts and passionate people; Telethon Kids Institute and Australia’s leading expert on bullying, Professor Donna Cross to develop an in school resource to tackle the issue of bullying,” Roseby said.
“Headspace is the perfect partner for us. They exist to improve the well-being of young people and we are proud to deliver a powerful initiative alongside them.”
Roseby said Supré are “incredibly proud” of the caliber of experts that have joined forces to develop the program.
Instrumental in the Kit’s content creation was Professor Donna Cross, who heads up Health Promotion and Education Research at Perth’s Telethon Kids Institute. She has conducted rigorous research, investigating ways to reduce bullying among young people for the last 18 years.
“But more than that, we know it works,” Roseby said.
“The program, which was piloted in five schools in Western Australia last year, was positively received and helped the schools involved build their capacity and confidence to deliver evidence based education on bullying.”
She added that the feedback received indicated that students were engaged in the delivery and teachers felt the anti-bullying content was relevant and useful – especially given bullying is a complex issue for schools to tackle.
“We know that effective school based programs can in fact reduce incidents of bullying, by at least 20%,” Roseby said.
“Bullying, although sadly common, is a complex issue that needs to be dealt with sensitively. The Kit offers social and emotional learning, enabling students to develop the skills and confidence to appropriately respond to bullying – whether it is happening to them or their peers.”
Roseby said it is Supré’s hope that the resource will be delivered in as many schools as possible.
“Getting involved is easy – all that principals need to do is get in touch with their closest headspace centre and request the program is delivered in their schools,” she said.