The very first Bullying Free NZ Week took place from 16 – 20 May, marking the progress that has been made on bullying prevention and highlighting the further work that can be done to make sure all children are safe at school.
The week was marked by schools throughout New Zealand with a range of bullying prevention awareness activities.
Also launched in the same week was a much awaited resource to support schools and their communities to tackle bullying - the new Bullying Free NZ website, www.bullyingfree.nz. The website features the experiences of schools and students as well as bullying prevention research, resources, and interactive tools.
Chief Commissioner, David Rutherford says the website is the 2015 Bullying Prevention Guidelines in action.
“This website is a huge step towards arming our schools, parents and caregivers with the advice, support and tools they need to prevent bullying in New Zealand.
“It also shows the continuing rewards of taking a multi-agency response to bullying. It has resulted in the development of an approach to bullying that is a New Zealand first – it’s responsive, informative and joined-up.
In a piece that appeared in the NZ Herald on Friday 20 May, Pink Shirt Day, Mr Rutherford outlined the need for a cultural shift in bullying prevention.
“The work we do to prevent bullying in our schools now, will flow on to preventing sexual and family violence in future. It will also increase the wellbeing of students, increase achievement and reduce self-harm and youth suicide.
“We have all of the framework in place, now is the time to start walking the talk,” Mr Rutherford says.
David Rutherford discusses Pink Shirt Day and Bullying Free NZ Week here.