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UPDATE: An Open Letter to the Premiers on Bullying & Cyberbullying

 

Hon. Kathleen Wynne

Premier of Ontario

Chair, Council of the Federation

 

Open Letter to the Premiers, acting as the Council of the Federation

As Canada’s authority on research and resources for bullying prevention, PREVNet (Promoting Relationships and Eliminating Violence Network) applauds the Council of the Federation for addressing bullying and cyberbullying.

PREVNet’s mission is to stop bullying in Canada and to promote safe and healthy relationships for all Canadian children and youth. This national Networks of Centres of Excellence of 71 researchers and 55 youth-serving organizations provides an opportunity to change the way we understand and deal with bullying problems. In collaboration with our national partners (such as Canadian Red Cross and UNICEF), PREVNet has co-created over 100 evidence-based tools and strategies that can be used to stop harmful behaviour before any damage is done. PREVNet believes evidence-based bullying prevention is a better choice than punishment.

Bullying can be prevented by showing children and youth the benefits of healthy relationships. This is the responsibility of the whole community. Parents or guardians have the responsibility to work with the adults in their child’s life to educate children and youth that bullying is wrong and unacceptable. Within the educational system, schools, school boards, parents, teachers, and volunteers have the responsibility to create safe environments where everyone is treated with respect. This means parents, teachers, leaders and volunteers in community organizations, and all others who interact with children and youth must join together to help young people learn how to socially and emotionally develop healthy relationship skills that lead to respectful actions towards others.

Documented evidence shows the benefits of bullying prevention. When children feel safe they are ready to learn. Bullying prevention can reduce long-lasting emotional problems that can persist well into adulthood including clinical depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, eating problems, and substance abuse. Even those who chronically bully are at risk since they are more likely to become delinquents and to engage in physical and sexual harassment of partners as adults.

All Canadian children and youth from coast-to-coast-to-coast have the right to be safe in their homes, at school, in their communities, and online. Investing in bullying prevention today will lead to a healthier and more productive society for all Canadians.

Yours sincerely,

                                            

Dr. Debra Pepler                                                Dr. Wendy Craig

Scientific Co-Director                                          Scientific Co-Director




Council of the Federation – Final Communiqué

Bullying and Cyber-bullying
Premiers condemn all forms of bullying. In particular, they are concerned about the impact that cyber-bullying is having on a generation of young people.

Premiers shared details on initiatives that all provinces and territories have undertaken to prevent bullying and cyber-bullying, strengthen mental health supports, provide support to victims and address gaps in our laws.  Teachers, principals and school board officials have a critical role to play in helping children and youth understand the impact of their behaviors on others and empower young people to make good choices in all situations. Parents also play a pivotal role in enabling success at school by recognizing the warning signs of bullying, fostering resilience, and in teaching children good communication, social and coping skills at home.

Premiers are encouraged by the efforts of many young people, parents and educators across the country that are showing leadership by working hard to prevent bullying in their schools and communities. Premiers commend the work of Justice Ministers, Status of Women Ministers, and Education Ministers and educators across the country in their efforts to monitor the prevalence of bullying in schools, and in championing prevention and intervention efforts within school communities. They urged all partners to pursue collaborative relationships with the goal of learning from what is working well and where supports can be enhanced for educators, students, youth and their families.

The harm caused by the use of technology can be more pervasive than traditional forms of bullying. Cyber-bullying has far reaching implications for various areas of law including criminal, civil, constitutional and human rights. Premiers stand with Justice Ministers in their efforts to strengthen the Criminal Code by creating a new offence covering non-consensual distribution of intimate images and modernizing investigative powers for law enforcement. Premiers stressed the need for the speedy review of the recommendations in consultation with provinces and territories so they may be moved into legislation quickly.

SOURCE Council of the Federation

 

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