DCU steps up fight against bullying in schools and online
2018-09-01 14:25:14 -


By Staff Reporter


Dublin City University has been awarded the Unesco chair on Tackling Bullying in Schools and Cyberspace.

Prof James O’Higgins Norman, director of the National Anti-Bullying Research and Resource Centre (ABC) at DCU’s Institute of Education, will take the chair as part of a global partnership between UNESCO and the university aimed at tackling the growing issue of bullying in schools and online.

The appointment comes as the ABC secures EU funding to assess the prevalence and impact of bullying among Roma children in Ireland and Cyprus.

The European Commission has identified the Roma community as one of the most disadvantaged groups in the EU, and asserts that discrimination — fed by pressure, harassment and bullying in schools — can act as a serious deterrent to Roma parents sending their children to mainstream schools.

Newly funded project Breathe: Bullying Experiences Among Roma Children has been allocated almost €180,000 to address the lack of peer-reviewed research on Roma children and their experiences of school.

“This extremely important research will shine a light on areas of society and schools where children and young people experience bullying because of their identity,” Prof O’Higgins Norman said.

“Measuring the international extent of bullying and the development of a set of measures aimed at preventing bullying will form a key aspect of my role as Unesco chair for the next four years.”

The project will involve the ABC “working with the Roma community and its advocates in Ireland and Cyprus to co-operatively create new, effective research measures, developing a ground-up strategy of inclusion for the European Commission, and creating a cross-national advisory document for Roma inclusiveness in schools, to be implemented beyond the life of the project,” DCU said in a statement.

Project lead and ABC researcher Dr Mairéad Foody added: “The lack of safe and secure education for Roma children is one of most serious human rights shortcomings and violations across Europe. We are delighted to work with our new partners — Musicantia, Nasc Ireland and Kisa in Cyprus — to push for a more inclusive school system in Ireland and Europe.”

The study has received two years of funding under the EU DG Justice 2017 Action Grants. This funding is granted by the European Commission to projects or organisations which help implement EU programmes or policies.


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