Writing to the Prime Minister, Premiers and Chief Ministers around the country, NCAB – an initiative of the Alannah & Madeline Foundation – has called for greater collaboration between health and education sectors to address bullying and harassment.
Research presented by Canadian Professor Wendy Craig at July’s biennial NCAB Conference showed the long-term psychological harm caused by bullying, in both victims and perpetrators.
Prof Craig said bullying can have a measureable effect on children’s brains and genetic development, which the Foundation is now urging all Australian governments to consider and address.
NCAB Chair and former Chief Justice of the Family Court of Australia the Hon Alastair Nicholson AO RFD QC said it was essential that all governments adopted a public health and safety approach to bullying. Justice Nicholson added that bullying also needed to be considered a human rights issue.
“The focus should move beyond the bully as centre of the problem,” Justice Nicholson said. “Bullying should be managed as a public health issue because of its potentially devastating long-term impact.
“The shift would better reflect the long-term cost of bullying to our community.”
The Alannah & Madeline Foundation CEO Lesley Podesta called for greater health investment to prevent, identify and address bullying in all of its forms (online and offline).
“Evidence is clear as to the psychological and traumatic impact of bullying,” Ms Podesta said.
“There is an urgent need for greater collaboration between the education and health sectors to help address bullying and harassment.
“The cost to our community is too high for us not to rethink the way we are dealing with bullying.”
The letter was also addressed to Ministers for Health and Education to encourage greater collaboration to prevent, identify and address bullying.
NCAB is Australia’s pre-eminent bullying authority and includes 22 academics and researchers from across the country.
For more information go to amf.org.au.
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