It can be online, in the school yard or even in our neighbourhoods. Bullying is about the abuse of power and control. It is unacceptable any time, anywhere and we all have a role to play in preventing and supporting those who are affected by it. It is hurtful and harmful and can leave scars that last a lifetime.
From Nov. 16 to 22, during National Bullying Awareness Week, Albertans are encouraged to think and talk about bullying prevention in their homes, schools and communities.
During the 2007/2008 school year, 49 per cent of Alberta youth surveyed reported being bullied, and 58 per cent saw bullying take place. A 2008 survey of Albertans’ perceptions on family violence and bullying found that one quarter of Albertans think that bullying is just a normal part of growing up.
A province-wide bullying prevention strategy is helping adults, children and youth realize that bullying is not acceptable. As part of Alberta’s commitment to safer communities, the government is working with families and communities to find solutions to bullying through a number of initiatives.
Bullying information and resources are available for adults, youth and children: www.teamheroes.ca – an online game with cartoon characters to help children learn how to handle bullying; www.b-free.ca – a website for youth, developed by youth, with strategies and resources on bullying prevention; www.bullyfreealberta.ca – a website for adults to learn more about bullying prevention and intervention; and the Bullying Helpline (1-888-456-2323), which provides support and assistance on bullying prevention and intervention 24 hours a day, toll-free in Alberta.
The Community Incentive Fund provides Alberta communities with funding to address family violence and bullying locally. Three million dollars has been distributed to 93 community projects across the province in 2008/2009 and 48 per cent of these projects addressed bullying-related issues. The projects focus on developing life skills, resiliency, empathy and respect.
Information about the Community Incentive Fund is available at www.familyviolence.alberta.ca.
To assist teachers and schools to develop effective bullying prevention strategies, the provincial government signed a licensing agreement with the Media Awareness Network that gives teachers in all school jurisdictions access, at no cost, to teacher training resources that address cyberbullying and child Internet safety.
Together we can prevent bullying and create brighter futures and safer communities for our children and youth.
If you would like further information on this or any issue, please contact my constituency office at 403-782-7725, toll free 1-800-565-6432, by mail 101, 4892 – 46 Street, Lacombe, AB T4L 2B4, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org