Jamaica News: The Anti-bullying Technical Working Group met over two days, February 20 and 21, for discussions aimed at better equipping key stakeholders to address bullying in the society.
The event, held at the Police Officers’ Club in St. Andrew, was organised by the Child Protection and Family Services Agency (CPFSA).
It included presentations and discussion sessions aimed at formulating strategies, and building the capacity of the working group to mitigate the negative effects of bullying on the nation’s children.
Participants included members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF); Early Childhood Commission (ECC); Bureau of Gender Affairs; Department of Correctional Services (DCS); Broadcasting Commission of Jamaica; Ministry of Education, Youth and Information; National Parenting Support Commission (NPSC); Jamaica Council for Persons with Disabilities; Ministry of Health, among others.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Chief Executive Officer of the CPFSA, Rosalee Gage-Grey, explained that development of the anti-bullying working group followed a 2015 study, which found that bullying was a “pervasive issue that required national attention and action”.
As such, the group is charged to identify and assess variables that contribute to this ongoing issue, and provide solutions.
Key areas of focus are public education and awareness raising; training/capacity building; research and policy; and service delivery to victims, bystanders and perpetrators.
During the two-day session, participants were sentisised about existing laws, such as the Child Care and Protection Act and the Cybercrimes Act, which provide protection against bullying.
They discussed the dynamics and impact of bullying, experiences in Jamaica, the prevalence of cyberbullying and international best practices. They also examined anti-bullying efforts by the police, mental health and the bullying phenomenon, among other issues.
The workshop included a special presentation on the ‘Child Care and Protection Act from the lens of bullying’ by the CPFSA Legal and Policy Specialist, Tania Chambers.
Children who have been victims of bullying also gave testimonials, about how they managed to deal with the issue.
Bullying is characterised by acts of intentional harm, repeated over time, in a relationship where an imbalance of power exists. It includes physical actions (punching, kicking, biting), verbal actions, threats, name-calling, insults, racial or sexual comments, social exclusion, and spreading of rumours.
Source: JIS News