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Far too many children in Denmark live with the negative effects of bullying. This is harmful to children and we need to make a concerted effort to stamp out bullying. To this end, three leading Danish anti-bullying organisations are banding together to form a new national alliance to stop Danish children being bullied.
Bullying causes stomach aches, leads to loneliness and can completely erode a child’s self-belief. But bullying can be stopped through a targeted and holistic effort, which is why the three leading anti-bullying advocates in Denmark are now joining forces to create “The Anti-bullying Alliance” (in Danish: Alliancen mod mobning).
At The Mary Foundation, we base our work on partnerships. We believe that we achieve more by pooling our experience and expertise, and not least by coordinating our efforts instead of working alone on our own separate anti-bullying programmes. The Anti-bullying Alliance provides the best possible foundation for bringing an end to bullying in schools,” says Director of The Mary Foundation, Helle Østergaard.
Bullying remains a widespread problem in Danish schools, where 7%* of children experience bullying at least twice a month. This equates to one or two children in every class.
The Alliance’s vision is to stop bullying. We aim to achieve our vision by taking action against bullying and putting a stop to it before it starts, as well as by helping children affected by bullying. We will be consolidating the knowledge and experience that each of our organisations has garnered over the years, and using this as a foundation for developing a strong, comprehensive programme that will benefit children,” says Director of Børns Vilkår (Children’s Circumstances), Rasmus Kjeldahl.
Among professionals, bullying is increasingly being acknowledged as a group phenomenon as opposed to only affecting the individual children involved. When a child is bullied, it typically reflects an unfortunate culture of exclusion, where no one can feel safe. This is why The Anti-bullying Alliance focuses on working with the whole group of children and their environment – it’s about creating positive values and cultures within the children’s groups.
Our efforts have produced great results in recent years, but we have not yet reached our goal. As the key players in the field, we have a special obligation to tackle this challenge and come up with bigger and better ideas. We owe it to the children, and working together will enable us to get the best results. It’s about time we made sure that no child gets bullied,” says Secretary General at Save the Children Denmark, Jonas Keiding Lindholm.
The Anti-bullying Alliance’s first project will focus on developing a strong and holistic programme aimed at Grades 4, 5 and 6 in primary schools. Work on the project will commence in the second half of 2016 and is expected to be piloted in 2017.
* WHO cross-national survey on Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC), 2014.
Facts about the The Anti-bullying Alliance
The Anti-bullying Alliance is founded on the long-standing work of the three organisations on children’s well-being, including The Mary Foundation’s and Save the Children Denmark’s joint anti-bullying programme Free of Bullying. This initiative focuses on preventing bullying in preschools and primary schools – and now also in childcare facilities for babies and toddlers. It has also benefited from the experience of BørneTelefonen (The Children’s Telephone) and the Danish school campaign #DeVoksnesAnsvar (#TheAdultsResponsibility).
The organisations’ existing projects will continue as normal and the work of the Alliance will consist of new anti-bullying initiatives for primary schools. The Anti-bullying Alliance bases its efforts on the new perspective on bullying, which regards bullying more as a group phenomenon than as a problem among individuals.
Read more about The Mary Foundation at maryfonden.dk, about Save the Children Denmark at redbarnet.dk and about Børns Vilkår at bornsvilkar.dk.