Global Bullying Prevention Meetings Highlight the OLWEUS Bullying Prevention Program

June 8, 2016, Center City, Minnesota - The Olweus Bullying Prevention Program continues to take center stage in the worldwide effort to prevent bullying.

Olweus Bullying Prevention Program

Preparation is underway for an upcoming report by the Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence Against Children that will serve as a basis document for the General Assembly's " global recommendations against bullying " to be issued in United Nation's (UN) 71st session in fall 2016.

Dan Olweus, PhD and research professor known to many as the "father" of bullying research and author of the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program (OBPP) has been invited to present his program and associated research at a Special Event arranged by the UN Office of the Special Representative in collaboration with the Permanent Mission of Mexico and the Permanent Mission of Norway.

In that meeting, on June 10, he will also present five key components of the OBPP that he thinks can be part of a useful overall strategy to reduce and prevent bullying on a global level. In brief, he will focus on: 1) The definition of bullying and standardized measurement of bully/victim problems with an appropriate questionnaire; 2) establishing a school coordinating committee; 3) effective supervision of relevant locations; 4) establishing and reinforcing school rules against bullying and teacher-led class meetings with students; and 5) using best practices for handling identified or suspected cases (individual interventions).

"I am very pleased the UN is preparing to take the next step in addressing bullying as a global children's human rights issue by making 'global recommendations against bullying' in their fall report," Olweus said. "Bullying is about abusive relationships which more or less ruin the lives of millions of young people - the victims- around the world. The many negative effects of being bullied are very well documented, and there is a growing understanding that these problems are also very costly to society."

Olweus added, "The need to address bullying in a clear and systematic manner continues to gain global attention. In these discussions, the school setting is being acknowledged both as a place where bullying occurs, and even more importantly, as the prime environment for effective efforts to reduce and prevent bullying."

Recognizing that Olweus had played a vital role in changing public attitudes about bullying -  from being seen as a natural part of school life to a pressing public health issue that must be taken seriously by the authorities - the American Psychological Association honored Olweus in 2012 with its Award for Distinguished Contributions to Research in Public Policy.

This special event occurs shortly after Jane Riese, LSW, Associate Director, Safe and Humane Schools, Clemson University, attended a May 2016 meeting of leading international researchers, policy makers and education experts held at the UNICEF Office of Research in Florence, Italy. The OBPP was discussed during the meeting in Florence due to its extensive evidence base built up over many years and involving several hundred thousand children and youth. Jane Riese who serves as a training director of the OBPP will join Olweus at the UN Special Event.

"Through years of research, we've learned system-wide change is critical to effective bullying prevention," said Riese. "The global conversation surrounding systematic change on an international level is a testament to the need to address bullying from both the whole-child perspective and the child's surrounding community."  

The OBPP is a comprehensive approach to bullying prevention that includes school, classroom, individual and community components. Proven to reduce bullying, improve the classroom social climate, and reduce related antisocial behaviors such as vandalism and truancy, the OBPP has been implemented in thousands of U.S. schools and several other countries.

Safe and Humane Schools at Clemson University oversees training and implementation of the OBPP and partners with Hazelden Publishing to distribute implementation guides, classroom curricula, and survey materials to schools that participate in the program. The partnership began in 2007, when Hazelden Publishing worked with Dan Olweus and staff from Clemson University to revise and update the program for broad release in the United States.

About the Institute on Family and Neighborhood Life
Clemson's Institute on Family and Neighborhood Life helps generate, share and apply the research foundation for youth, family, and community social development. The institute is housed in the Department of Youth, Family and Community Studies within Clemson's College of Health, Education and Human Development.

About Hazelden Publishing
Hazelden Publishing is a division of the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, the nation's largest nonprofit treatment provider offering prevention and recovery solutions nationwide and across the entire continuum of care for youth and adults.

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