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Australian program reduces bullying in world’s schools

Prof Phillip Slee, Flinders University’s Professor in Human Development within the School of Education, says the P.E.A.C.E. Pack now used in schools across Australia, Malta, Greece, Korea and Japan is one of four anti-bullying programs being trialled in US schools this year.

“Across the world, there are many brightly packaged programs that promise to reduce bullying – without any evidence that they work,” Slee said.

“We have the evidence that ours does work in significantly reducing bullying, increasing students' knowledge about how to stop bullying and who to talk to about it, and reducing the likelihood that students will join in bullying others.”

Slee attributes the successful outcomes to the involvement of teachers and students in creating the materials and identifying how to present them.

The program asks students to contribute to the ongoing development and updating of the anti-bullying and safe school policies at their own schools, so the students feel they are in charge of it.

The P.E.A.C.E. process consists of five main elements to enable schools to address bullying:

P – Preparation and consideration of the nature of bullying

E – Education and understanding of the issues

A – Actions and strategies developed to reduce bullying

C – Coping strategies for staff, students and parents

E – Evaluation, review and celebration of the program, including pre- and post-program testing of the participants

A trained teacher and registered psychologist, Slee said that between 17 and 18 per cent of Australian senior primary and secondary students report that they are “seriously” bullied, which is defined as being bullied one or more times each week.

The research shows that the proportion of students bullied drops significantly at the end of the eight-week P.E.A.C.E. Pack program.

Slee said students become engaged because the program uses videos depicting real-life scenarios and highlights how bystanders have a major role in reducing bullying by calling out bullying behaviours rather than encouraging bullies or refusing to intervene.

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