Bullying-Free Week 2024

Bullying contributes to poor wellbeing and absenteeism in New Zealand. Discover how you can address bullying this Bullying-Free Week 2024.

Bullying-Free Week is an annual initiative run by Bullying-Free NZ which culminates in Pink Shirt Day each year. This year, Bullying-Free Week is happening from 13 May – 17 May.  

The week-long event aims to raise awareness of bullying at schools and how to prevent and respond to incidents.  

Recently, New Zealand has been named as one of the worst nations for bullying in the world. A report published by the Ministry of Education in 2021 found that 36 percent of Year 5s and 38 percent of Year 9s were bullied on a monthly basis.  

Read the latest print edition of School News HERE 

The most common forms of bullying in New Zealand are “being made fun of” and “being excluded on purpose from activities”.  

However, bullying takes many forms and may be physical, verbal or social.  

Bullying victims are likely to be male, disabled, LGBTQIA+, NZ born, low achievers and from a disadvantaged background. Adobestock by

Victims of bullying are more likely to be male, disabled, LGBTQIA+ (particularly transgender students), New Zealand born, low achievers and from a disadvantaged background.  

Around 27 percent of students reported themselves as engaging in bullying behaviours, around a third of students who bully might have experienced bullying themselves.  

Students who experience bullying may become withdrawn, seem anxious and be reluctant to go to school. It is a known contributing factor to nationally poor attendance rates.  

Bullying-Free NZ week is therefore an opportunity for schools to review their culture and address bullying prevention and awareness with their communities.  

According to the Bullying-Free NZ website, schools that “encourage respect, value opinions, celebrate difference, and promote positive relationships make it difficult for bullying behaviour to thrive or be tolerated.”  

Ideas for activities, information on bullying and free resources can be accessed through the Bullying-Free NZ and Pink Shirt Day websites.  

Other wellbeing and mental health organisations such as Barnardos Aotearoa are also running campaigns for Bullying-Free week 2024. This year, the 0800 What’s Up counselling helpline will be available for free to 5 to19 year olds, and their parents, teachers and caregivers during Bullying-Free Week from 13 – 17 May. 

Naomii Seah

Naomii Seah is a writer and journalist from Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand. She enjoys crochet, painting, and a coffee or two at the beach. Her work can be found at The Spinoff, The Pantograph Punch, Stuff, and of course, School News NZ.
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