Campaign aims to combat bullying
A new programme aimed at changing people's attitudes to bullying has been launched in Marlborough.
The project, which kicked off in January, focuses on getting the anti-bullying message across to young people under the age of 19, but also deals with bullying in other areas of the community.
Project co-ordinator Liz Collyns said the campaign was about challenging the perception that bullying is acceptable to some degree.
Mrs Collyns had been talking to people of all ages in Marlborough about bullying and found everyone had some experience with bullying or being bullied.
Most surprising was the amount of bullying that went on in the workplace, she said.
"We all know it happens in schools, but bullying in the workplace is insidious - it's hidden and it happens over time," she said.
"We tend to stand by and not intervene because we just don't know what to say."
Maataa Waka and Barnardos jointly applied to run the year-long project, which is funded by the Ministry of Social Development.
A series of competitions and activities will run over the next two months as a way to encourage young people to get involved and stand up to bullying.
Anyone under the age of 19 can enter the competitions, which include writing a song or slogan, designing a poster, or creating a logo with the "stop bullying" message.
Mrs Collyns said an online survey would be conducted at the beginning and end of the campaign to gauge how effective it had been.
"We all need to look at our own behaviour. We need to realise it's OK to stand up to bullying."
Barnardos Marlborough service manager Mike Henderson said the project came at a good time.
"Everyone's got a bullying story," he said. "It's about changing bystander behaviour and making people realise they don't have to put up with it."
Do you have a bullying story?
Share it with us below (please don't use real names) or email: email@example.com
For more information on the campaign and on how to enter the competitions, email Liz.Collyns@barnardos.org.nz
The Marlborough Express