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Media Release: Work begins on new campaign to stop cyber bullying

Children's Children's Rights

The Australian Human Rights Commission has announced that it is partnering with the Child Health Promotion Research Centre at Edith Cowan University, and communications specialists, Primary Communication, to develop an innovative anti-cyber bullying campaign.

Commission President Catherine Branson QC said the campaign would focus on helping young people to take safe and effective action when they witness cyber bullying.

“We repeatedly hear about incidents of cyber bullying involving young people and we know that the damage it causes can last a lifetime,” Ms Branson said.

Cyber bullying is a growing problem confronting the nation with the potential for serious mental and physical impacts.

“The Commission is particularly excited about partnering with the Child Health Promotion Research Centre at Edith Cowan University due to its extensive expertise working in the field of bullying.”

Ms Branson said cyber bullying was a human rights issue which could affect a young person’s right to education, health and the right to be free from violence and harassment whether at home, school, work or anywhere else.

She said the Commission welcomed the recent release of the Joint–Select Committee on Cyber Safety Report High Wire Act: Cyber Safety and the Young which makes a range of recommendations to tackle cyber bullying and identifies the important role that bystanders can have in intervening safely when they witness cyber bullying.

“The role of the bystander, in standing up against bullying and harassment can be an incredibly important and powerful one. We know that it is often young people who witness others being cyber bullied which is why this  campaign will be providing young people with the skills and resources they need to take appropriate, safe and effective action.”

The Child Health Promotion Research Centre, led by Professor Donna Cross, undertook the world's first study into strategies being used by schools, families and students to combat the effects of cyber bullying.

They also spearheaded groundbreaking research into covert bullying which has informed the cyber bullying elements of the revised National Safe Schools Framework.

“Young people are key stakeholders in identifying and implementing responses to cyber bullying. This project includes important opportunities for young people to inform the content, design and platform in which to promote positive bystander actions. This is an innovative project focusing on the role of all young people in bullying situations, in which we are excited to be involved,” Professor Cross said.

Primary Communication will provide their expertise in the field of innovative social marketing campaigns in mental health and education. 

Ms Branson said the cyber bullying and bystander project is a priority for the Australian Human Rights Commission as part of its strategy to tackle violence, harassment and bullying.

“This partnership announcement marks the beginning of what we hope will be a major force in countering the adverse impacts and often irreparable damage caused by cyber bullying,” Ms Branson said.

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Media contact: Louise McDermott (02) 9284 9851 or 0419 258 597