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Statewide anti-bullying initiative reports “significant reduction”

An SA anti-bullying intervention is resulting in “significant reduction” in levels of self-reported bulling in schools.

According to latest evaluation of the PEACE Pack program, by Flinders University researchers Professor Phillip Slee and Dr Grace Skrzypiec, the rollout across South Australia continues to keep a lid on bullying by also teaching coping or resilience skills to build long-term happiness and wellbeing of primary and secondary students.

The PEACE Pack stands for:

  • Preparation and consideration of the nature of bullying
  • Education and understanding of the issues
  • Action taken and strategies developed to reduce bullying
  • Coping strategies for staff, students and parents
  • Evaluation, review and celebration of the program

Dr Slee and Dr Skrzypiec commended the State Government’s new community approach to bullying behaviour which culminated in the launch this month of a comprehensive bullying prevention strategy.

The South Australian Bullying Prevention Strategy was developed by a number of school-based pilot projects, a series of public engagement activities including a conference, YourSAy survey, workshops and roundtables involving more than 900 experts, educators, professionals, parents, children and young people. 

“The deployment and evaluation has confirmed that the research-backed program can address bullying in our schools, including cyberbullying,” says Professor Slee.

“Our eight-week intervention, designed for schools and classrooms from reception to Year 12, can help to make students feel safe at school, and reduce the likelihood of students joining in the bullying of others.”

Developed at Flinders University, the PEACE Pack gives teachers, students and school leaders useful guidelines for conflict resolution, relationship-building and decision-making among bullying perpetrators and bystanders, along with building the coping skills of students who may experience bullying.

As well as a comprehensive anti-bullying curriculum for students, the program offers intensive professional development for teachers, student wellbeing leaders and parents.

The Department of Education funded PEACE Pack intervention, first funded as a pilot last year, now includes resources including a cyberbullying booklet, DVD, fact sheets for parents, counselling tips for teachers and an on-line delivery of evaluation questionnaires have been developed in 2019. 

The pilot covered 20 schools and 1500 students from junior primary to lower secondary and continues to gain momentum in public schools. This year 12 Catholic Schools across the state began trialling a fully funded evaluation of the PEACE Pack in term 2.

Professor Slee says the SA findings were consistent with existing national and international evaluations in Japan, Greece, Malta and Italy demonstrating that the PEACE Program was successful in significantly reducing the level of student self-reported victimisation, improving safety and coping skills and promoting wellbeing.

The program has also received support from the Breakthrough Mental Health Foundation.   
Professor Phillip Slee is a trained teacher and registered psychologist, specialising in human development. He has presented at workshops and lectures nationally and internationally, published more than 100 refereed papers, 25 book chapters and 15 books.
Student Wellbeing and Prevention of Violence directors Professor Slee and Dr Skrzypiec research childhood bullying and aggression, child and adolescent mental health, and practical and policy implications.

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