A FEATURED ARTICLE ON DOLLY EVERETT: MOURNERS GATHER TO REMEMBER GIRL FOLLOWING SUICIDE OVER ALLEGED BULLYING.
CHI which is a network of government as well as civil society organisations operate internationally in more than 142 countries, and has accumulated a record of 126 million reports from children and their parents, in the last 10 years (Meyer, 2015). These 126 million has been just the number of interactions and conversations that have taken place between children and counsellors, out of which approximately 4 million have been about violence and abuse such as that of bullying and other instances such as molestation (Cornell & Limber, 2015). According to statistics provided by The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, more than half of children that are around 38% of children globally have been subjected to cyber bullies. In Australian context, bullying is decreasing gradually, although it still remains exceptionally high. New research has been conducted which states that Australian school-aged children are experiencing bully although it has been reduced by a quarter degree in past few years (Rose, Nickerson & Stormont, 2015). According to the Study conducted by University of South Australia, in 2007, 27% of the children have been subjected to bullying in 2007, which drastically got reduced to 20% in 2015. However, according to Ken Rigby, report co-author, bullying still remains "unacceptably high" and more has to be done. Report also states that the reasons behind bully are due to may occur due to many reasons, most of which are associated with looks or characters, such as for being obese or gay or physically handicapped. In overall scenario, girls are more prone to such dangers in comparison to girls when they are teased, ignored or are being sent offensive messages (Sedghi, 2013).
The recent incident of Dolly Everett's suicide due to bully has grabbed attention of the millions, internationally such that more initiatives are taken by the government and by social workers. After the incident, Dolly's family took an initiative to organise social campaign in order to increase awareness with regard to bullying and harassment. In fact, school bully has caused innumerable diseases of depression, anxiety among children which has led to high suicide rates among the children. There is need of social counselling and parents have responsibility to be more open and friendly towards children so that children are able to confess their problems. This would help the society at large to address the issue before it becomes too late (O’Brien, 2018).
In Australia, out of five, every one student is subjected to bullying in school due to which they suffer emotionally as well as psychological harm which leads to depression and development of suicidal tendency and poor academic performances as well (Cook & Bagshaw, 2016). Even if schools have their own anti-bully policies and regularly inform the students to inform them if they face such issues, children remain silent. New documentary has been released in 2017, by the name of Bullied where it describes the intense sufferings that the victims go through and the frustration of the parents because of the inability of the school to take actions (Wilson & Cornish, 2014). One reason of such failure is that students are reluctant to confess to the teachers and prefer to discuss with their peers. This is because they feel teachers have duty only to teach and would not believe them. Moreover, they fear of repercussions and consider it as a personal problem (Rigby, 2017).
In Australia, schools have certain duty of care towards their children and there have been several cases of failure, one of which has been that of New South Wales Court of Appeal case by the name of Trustees of the Roman Catholic Church for the Diocese of Bathurst v Koffman. In this case, the school was held responsible for owning duty of care in the circumstances where children got injury. School authority knew that since the children routinely used the bus stop where the incident had taken place, they were aware of such mischief that was frequent there. According to the judgement, if the school was aware of such incidents happening where older children bullied the young ones, the duty of care must prevail for school to take actions and warn the parents (Thornberg, 2015).
Cook H & Bagshaw E (2016). Bullying in Australian schools is falling, but remains 'unacceptably high'. Retrieved from:http://www.smh.com.au/national/education/bullying-in-australian-schools-is-falling-but-remains-unacceptably-high-20160630-gpvmg7.html. Retrieved on 1st Feb 2017.
Cornell, D., & Limber, S. P. (2015). Law and policy on the concept of bullying at school. American Psychologist, 70(4), 333.
Hymel, S., & Swearer, S. M. (2015). Four decades of research on school bullying: An introduction. American Psychologist, 70(4), 293.
Meyer, E. J. (2015). Gender, bullying, and harassment: Strategies to end sexism and homophobia in schools. Teachers College Press.
O’Brien K (2018). Dolly Everett: Mourners gather to remember girl following suicide over alleged bullying. Retrieved on:http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-01-12/dolly-everett-memorial-in-katherine/9323118. Retrieved on 1st Feb 2017.
Rigby K,. (2017). 'I don't want to be teased': Why bullied children are reluctant to seek help from teachers. Retrieved from:http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-03-16/why-bullied-children-are-reluctant-to-seek-help-from-teachers/8357006 9. Retrieved on 1st Feb 2017.
Rose, C. A., Nickerson, A. B., & Stormont, M. (2015). Advancing bullying research from a social–ecological lens: An introduction to the special issue. School Psychology Review, 44(4), 339-352.
Sedghi A., (2013). 10 years of bullying data: what does it tell us? Retrieved from:https://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2013/may/23/10-years-bullying-data#data. Retrieved on 1st Feb 2017.
Swearer, S., & Hymel, S. (2015). Bullying and discrimination in schools: Exploring variations across student subgroups. School Psychology Review, 44(4), 504-509.
Thornberg, R. (2015). School bullying as a collective action: Stigma processes and identity struggling. Children & Society, 29(4), 310-320.
Wilson L & Cornish L (2014). Australian children most worried about bullying, data reveals. Retrieved from:http://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/parenting/australian-children-most-worried-about-bullying-data-reveals/news-story/11ef950d845fb9518fabcb2535393251. Retrieved on 1st Feb 2017.