Schools and youth groups across Northern Ireland are being encouraged to register for Anti-Bullying Week 2016 (ABW16) which will take place between Monday 14 and Friday 18 November. This year’s theme is ‘Together We Are Stronger’.
Anti-Bullying Week is coordinated by the Northern Ireland Anti-Bullying Forum (NIABF) and supported by Translink. NIABF is an interagency group hosted by the National Children’s Bureau (NCB) NI and funded by the Department of Education. The event actively involved over 800 schools and youth groups last year and it is anticipated that numbers getting involved in 2016 will increase.
Celine McStravick, Chair of Northern Ireland Anti-Bullying Forum (NIABF) explains why it is important that schools and youth groups register:
“Last year over 800 schools and youth groups signed up to take part in Anti Bullying Week. They used the resource pack that is issued upon registration to support them in organising a wide range of events within the school environment to discuss the impact of bullying. The pack includes presentations, activity plans, project briefs and ABW16 themed posters. Registration only takes a couple of minutes.
“Almost 3,000 young people entered the Young People’s Competition, which is back this year by popular demand. Participation in the competition provides an opportunity to understand the nature and complexities of bullying behaviour and how schools work collectively with parents and carers to end bullying. It also highlights key issues in relation to bullying behaviour to both the school and wider community and of course there is the added bonus of prizes for individual winners and a chance to win £250 worth of resources for your school or group.”
Celine adds: “All of the activity will explore this year’s theme ‘Together We Are Stronger’. So we’ll be encouraging people to ask: ‘What does it mean to have strength of character?’ ‘How can we use our strength for good? And also ‘How can we empower parents and carers to work together with schools to tackle bullying?’
“This year we saw the Northern Ireland Assembly consider new anti-bullying legislation and this should become law in the autumn, hence it’s important that we all understand how we can work together to end bullying.”
Anti-Bullying Week has been actively supported by Translink for the last 8 years and this has assisted in the sharing of Anti-Bullying Week messages on trains and buses. Similar activity will be undertaken in 2016 as Ursula Henderson, PR and Public Affairs Officer at Translink explains:
“The safety of our passengers and staff is always our top priority and we are committed to creating a safe journey environment that supports the positive development of young people. We actively encourage all of our customers to behave responsibly and treat others with respect. Bullying as a child can have serious consequences on someone’s wellbeing right through adulthood so it’s important we get on board with events such as Anti-Bullying Week 2016 to show zero tolerance for bullying,” said Ursula.