POLICE ASSOCIATION OF NOVA SCOTIA 115 What Can We Do To Reduce Bullying? To be effective, bullying interventions must focus beyond the aggressive child and the victim to include peers, school staff, parents and the broader community. Although there are substantial differences among schools, comprehensive anti-bullying initiatives can help reduce occurrences of bullying. The central feature of the intervention must be a clearly stated code of behavior, such as respect for one another, and enforced by consistent and supportive followthrough. It takes considerable time to bring about both attitudinal and behavioural changes among the staff, students, and parents in the school community. The following sections provide a brief overview of components of an anti-bullying program. • School Staff: Motivation and support from the school staff are essential. All school staff should be included in educational sessions. Staff, together with parent and student representatives, should be responsible for updating the code of behavior and its consequences. Teachers' attitudes are reflected in their behavior. When adults recognize the problem of bullying and their central role in reducing it, they supervise actively and intervene to stop bullying. • Parents: Parent meetings and newsletters should inform parents about the problems of bullying. Parents should talk to their children about bullying and be aware of signs of potential victimization. Communication between parents and the school is essential, as parents are often the first to know that their children are being victimized. • Peers: Peers play a critical role in bullying. Interventions must aim to change attitudes, behaviors and norms around bullying for all children in a school. Under teachers' guidance, students can recognize the problem of bullying and their potential contributions. With teachers' support, they can develop strategies for intervening themselves, or seeking adult assistance to stop bullying. Promoting attitudes in the peer group which support empathy for the victim and condemn aggression will reduce bullying. • Bullies and Victims: Children involved as bullies or victims require individual attention. Talks with bullies should emphasize that bullying is not acceptable and point out the consequences established in the code of behavior. If a group of children is involved in bullying, the bully and bystanders are made to understand their role and responsibility. Talks with victims encourage them to speak up and confirm the school's intention to ensure that they are protected from further harassment. Talks with parents inform them of their children's difficulties and enlist their cooperation in disciplining bullying behavior and/or monitoring for further occurrences of bullying or victimization. Conclusion This review is not a comprehensive description of all factors related to bullying and victimization, but it does attempt to capture those most frequently addressed in the literature. Children involved in bullying, whether as bullies or victims, may have negative attitudes, poor social skills and emotional difficulties which begin at home. These problems are transferred to the school and peer contexts, where they may be reinforced. The development of antisocial behavior problems depends on the interaction of individual characteristics and exposure to risk factors at critical developmental periods. The National Strategy on Community Safety and Crime Prevention supports community initiatives that strive to create better opportunities for children. High-quality and consistent nurturing, combined with a secure, physically and emotionally safe environment through childhood will improve each child's prospects of success in life and make it less likely that they will later be victimized or become offenders. Programs that teach children resilience, empathy and social skills can help protect children from negative experiences. Interventions for the issue of bullying should extend to all those involved: bullies, victims, peers, school staff, parents, and the broader community. We all have a role to play in declaring bullying is not a rite of passage for Canadian children. This fact sheet was developed by the National Strategy on Community Safety and Crime Prevention in cooperation with Debra J. Pepler of the LaMarsh Centre for Research on Violence and Conflict Resolution and Department of Psychology, York University, andWendy M. Craig of the Department of Psychology, Queen's University. (...Bullying In Canada continued)