24 January 2018 –
To ensure the safety, health and happiness of every Queensland child, the Government is rededicating itself to leading the anti-bullying agenda in Australia, and working with children, parents, teachers and the community to address this serious, damaging, and at times deadly, issue.
Bullying will be on the agenda when Australian government leaders meet at the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting in Canberra on 9 February.
The State Government is committed to:
- Establishing a Queensland Anti-Bullying Taskforce, which will inform the development of a new anti-bullying framework for Queensland;
- offering an urgent allocation of $60,000 funding to yourtown, which operates the Kids Helpline and Parentline. The Government currently provides more than $1 million for these services; and
- launching a public awareness campaign informing parents and children of anti-bullying initiatives underway across the State with activities to coincide with the National Day of Action against Bullying and Violence on 16 March.
We can have zero tolerance in our schools, but cyberbullying follows kids into their homes and into their rooms. We need to work together to get on top of this issue. Every child should have the opportunity of good education free of bullying and harassment.
Cyberbullying will be the focus for a new dedicated Youth Advisory Council and a State-wide survey of the views of Queensland children.
The Queensland Families and Child Commission (QFCC) is planning to undertake a survey across the State between March and June which will focus on the issue of cyberbullying, as well as youth empowerment, out of home care, mental health, youth suicide and disability issues.
The Youth Advisory Council has been established by QFCC through the work of a core group of six youth champions.
yourtown – providing counselling and support through Kids Helpine
yourtown is the Queensland-based provider of Kids Helpline, a national 24/7 telephone and on-line counselling and support service for five to 25 year olds with special capacity for young people with mental health issues. It also operates Parentline, a telephone counselling service for parents and carers.
In 2017, yourtown responded to 959 specific cases of cyberbullying and 151 of them were from young Queenslanders. The most common age group is 12-14 year olds, but also a significant number from 15-17 year olds. It also responded to 3111 contacts nationally with concerns about on line activity and texting, with 496 of these coming from Queensland. More concerning is that in 2017 yourtown responded to 10,636 contacts with suicide related concerns. This was a 22% increase from 2016.
Specific issues that young people have contacted yourtown about in relation to cyberbullying include:
- Harrassment – repeatedly sending offensive messages;
- Denigration – making derogatory comments or dissemination of sexual images;
- Cyberstalking – intense harassment creating fear;
- Happy slapping – filming and distributing a physical assault to publicly humiliate the victim;
- Exclusion – purposely excluding the victim from online domains and chat groups;
- Outing and trickery – manipulating the victim into exposing information to humiliate; and
- Impersonation – pretending to be the victim and sending offensive messages.
Young people needing support can contact the Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800.
Parents and carers can call Parentline on 1300 30 1300.