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How Australian schools are responding to the problem of peer victimisation in schools

Abstract

This is a report on a project undertaken by the University of South Australia and funded by the Criminology Research Council. The original title of the project, in the name of Ken Rigby, Barrington Thomas and Dale Bagshaw, was 'How Australian schools are responding to the problem of peer victimisation among students'. Drawing on information made available through interviews with representatives from forty schools in seven Australian states and territories and from six state education authorities, the study aims to fill the gaps in our understanding of how Australian schools and departments of education are reacting to the problem of peer victimisation or bullying in schools. The schools involved were drawn from a list of schools that had used the Peer Relations Assessment Questionnaires (PRAQs) between 1996 and 2002 to obtain information about bullying from students, teachers or parents. The report describes school responses following the use of the PRAQ instruments, including the development of anti bullying policies, an emphasis on bullying prevention, sometimes discrepant views on whether punitive or non punitive approaches should be used, and the provision of advice for other schools. The report also describes the consensus view on bullying among departments of education, their explanations for bullying, divergences in their emphases on what is to be done, and their provision of supportive resources to schools.

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