Pupils from 34 schools are taking part in the Anti-Bullying Young People’s Forum today in Parliament Buildings.
Throughout the day, the 15 to 19 year olds will form committees focussing on different issues relation to bullying. Each committee, which is being chaired by an MLA, will then hear from a range of witnesses with expertise and experience in the areas under discussion.
Opening the event, Education Minister Peter Weir said: “Bullying of any kind is not acceptable. It can happen to anyone, can be profoundly damaging and its effects can often be felt right through into adulthood.
“Cyber-bullying is also a serious issue which impacts significantly on our young people and we all have a duty to both tackle it and support those who have been affected.
“If you have been bullied or are being bullied, do not try and face the problem alone. Share problems with friends and trusted adults. Our schools will also have people ready to help you.
“My Department has provided a clear lead through the ‘Addressing Bullying In Schools Act (NI) 2016’, which has strengthened schools’ ability to recognise and respond to bullying and will ensure greater consistency, so that all our pupils can enjoy the same high levels of protection."
Northern Ireland Children’s Commissioner Koulla Yiasouma will close the event, reflecting on the issues raised and outlining how young people’s contributions to the debate can help shape future anti-bullying activity in Northern Ireland.
The event, organised by the NI Anti-Bullying Forum (NIABF), forms part of the activities arranged in connection with Anti-Bullying Week 2019 under the theme ‘Change Starts With Us’.
Notes to editors:
1. The NI Anti-Bullying Forum (NIABF), established in 2005, brings together over 25 regional statutory and voluntary organisations to help schools and organisations working with children and young people to develop appropriate strategies to prevent and deal with bullying behaviours. More information on NIABF is available at http://www.endbullying.org.uk
2. Anti-Bullying Week is organised by the NI Anti-Bullying Forum (NIABF), an independent body comprising of statutory and non-statutory organisations with a role to play in preventing and tackling bullying and creating a safe environment for children and young people. The Forum, funded by the Department of Education, helps schools and organisations working with young people to develop appropriate strategies to prevent and deal with bullying behaviours.
3. Anti-Bullying Week (ABW) 2019 ran from 11-18 November. The theme was ‘Change Starts With Us’ focusing on strength of character and how we can use our strength for good.
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5. Media enquiries to the Department of Education Press Office Tel: 028 9127 9207. Out of office hours, contact the Duty Press Officer on 028 9037 8110.
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