One of the most common forms of violence in the lives of children is bullying. In Australia it affects approximately one student in every four1. Bullying can have a devastating effect on a child. In addition, children who portray bullying behaviours are more likely to commit anti-social behaviour and criminal acts.2
The Alannah and Madeline Foundation's Better Buddies Framework is an initiative designed to create friendly and caring primary school communities where bullying is reduced.
Through Better Buddies, children in their first and last year of primary school buddy up and learn the values: caring for others, friendliness, respect, valuing difference, including others and responsibility. All children in the school learn these values through formal and informal activities, including their interactions with the mascot Buddy Bear, our giant, fun-loving and caring purple bear.
The Alannah and Madeline Foundation would like to acknowledge Michael Salmon as the original illustrator/creator of Buddy Bear. The Foundation is very grateful to Michael for his valuable support and guidance with Better Buddies. www.michaelsalmon.com.au
Better Buddies enables younger children to feel safe and cared for while older children feel valued and respected. It is designed to enhance existing buddy programs or introduce a buddy program to primary schools for the first time. The evidence-based framework complements existing school welfare programs, is easy to implement and links to national curriculum initiatives.
Every child has a right to be safe from victimisation, violence and abuse at school. 'It is a fundamental democratic right for a child to feel safe in school and to be spared the oppression and repeated, intentional humiliation implied in bullying.' 3
Bullying is when someone (or a group of people) with more power than you, repeatedly and intentionally uses negative words and/or actions against you, which cause distress and risks your wellbeing. Bullying can be physical, verbal, emotional or social and can be carried out in person or electronically.
For more information about bullying please visit the National Centre Against Bullying website.
The Alannah and Madeline Foundation is a national charity protecting children from violence and its devastating effects. The Foundation was set up in memory of Alannah and Madeline Mikac, aged 6 and 3, who were tragically killed along with their mother and 32 others at Port Arthur, Tasmania on 28 April 1996.
We care for children who have experienced or witnessed violence and run programs which prevent violence in the lives of children. We play an advocacy role and we're a voice against childhood violence. Our vision is that every child will live in a safe and supportive environment.
Visit amf.org.au for more information
As a major Australian bank, we understand at NAB that we have a responsibility to address the issues that affect the health and safety of our communities. Tackling important social issues such as bullying, is everyone's responsibility and by managing the issue, rather than pretending it doesn't exist, we look to turn the table on negative behaviours which we know have a lasting impact on the lives of many Australians.
Bullying is a serious and prevalent issue in Australia with 27 per cent of young people report they are bullied every two weeks or more often. Since 2003, NAB has been a proud partner of The Alannah and Madeline Foundation through the sponsorship and support of several initiatives which aim to provide children with a safe and happy childhood, free from bullying.
Our key focus with the Foundation centres on the support and growth of the Better Buddies Framework. Relaunched into primary schools by the Foundation in 2007, Better Buddies is now operating in more than 1,000 schools across Australia. As a result, 300,000 children nationwide are now learning how to look after each other through the Framework. Over 180 local NAB staff members are actively involved as volunteers and are fundamental in bringing the program to life. Together, we are committed to helping the Foundation implement the program in all Australian primary schools in the years to come.
To raise awareness about the importance of friendship and the issue of bullying among primary school-aged children, primary schools across Australia united on 1 June 2012 to celebrate National Buddy Day; a joint initiative developed by NAB and The Alannah and Madeline Foundation.
As part of National Buddy Day, primary school students participated in activities to celebrate positive relationships and highlight ways kids can help each other learn behaviours to help reduce instances of bullying.
We understand that bullying is prevalent in not only our schools but also online and within many workplaces. In the workplace, we work hard to ensure we provide a healthy and safe work environment where every employee and customer is treated with respect and dignity, and where positive working relationships are promoted through our Code of Conduct Behavioural Guidelines.
Individually, or collectively as an organisation such as NAB, we can all make a positive impact through our behaviours to create more friendly, caring and inclusive communities.
1 Cross, D., Shaw, T., Hearn, L., Epstein, M., Monks, H., Lester, L., and Thomas, L. 2009. Australian Covert Bullying Prevalence Study (ACBPS). Child Health Promotion Research Centre, Edith Cowan University, Perth.
2. Rigby, K. 2006, An overview of approaches to managing bully/victim problems. In H. McGrath and T. Noble, Bullying solutions; Evidence-based approachs for Australian schools, Pearson Education, Sydney.
McGrath, H., National Safe Schools Framework Best Practice Grants Program, unpublished report (2006)
Craig, W. and Pepler, D.J. (2003). Identifying and Targeting risk for involvement in bullying and victimisation, Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 48. pp577-582.
Craig, W. and Pepler, D.J. (1997). Observations of bullying and victimisation on the schoolyard, Canadian Journal of School Psychology, 2 pp41-60.
3. Dan Olweus, 2001