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Action against bullying

The fight against bullying has to be won every day, says Professor Erling Roland at the Center for Behavioral Research at UiS. Together with internationally recognized colleagues he now asks the world to confront the problem.

Thirty researchers who participated in the Joint Efforts Against Victimization Conference in Kandersteg, Switzerland, in June, have signed a declaration in which they ask for increased action against bullying.

An estimated 200 million children and youth around the world are being abused by their peers. Bullying is a violation of the right to be respected and safe, Roland says, referring to one of the points in the declaration.

In Norway there are about 30.000 – 40.000 children who wake up every morning and know what they will be facing.

Pervasive problem
The Kandersteg Declaration states that it is the responsibility of adults to prevent bullying. Also the many forms of bullying are mentioned.

Bullying is a form of aggression, involving the abuse of power. It has many faces. Many children are bullied by means of cell phones, computers and internet, Roland says.

The declaration says that bullying can lead to impaired mental and physical health, lower performance in schools and social isolation.

The costs of bullying are also a burden on education, health care, social services and criminal justice systems as well as work force productivity.

Wide appeal
The researchers who have signed the declaration represent countries like Canada, USA, Australia, South Korea, Spain, Austria, Finland and Switzerland. Their appeal is meant as a signal to governments and people in general that the fight against bullying has to be stepped up.

In spite of the fact that Norway has done more to prevent bullying than many other countries, it is important to not to lose focus on the job, Roland reminds us.

We must stop bullying in all the places where children live, work and play. Research shows that the problem is pervasive and that much can be done in families and schools to prevent it.

The Kandersteg Declaration will today, September 5. be published in all the countries represented at the conference.

Read the Declaration (pdf, 23,15 kb) and see what the Center for Behavioral Research does in order to confront bullying!