Russian Children’s Ombudsman proposes definition of bullying in law
The Russian Children’s Ombudsman to propose enshrining the definition of bullying in law
Maria Lvova-Belova, the Russian Presidential Commissioner for Children’s Rights, has said that the problem of bullying exists in part because there is no such definition in law, TASS reports.
“Bullying – what is it anyway? A man comes up to me and calls me names – is that bullying or not? Or does he have to call me names several times and then has to hit me – is that bullying? We don’t have a clear definition”, she complained when addressing a Dads Against Bullying forum held recently in Kazan.
The Ombudsman also bemoaned the lack of information on successful anti-bullying practices and referred to inadequate legal mechanisms to prevent bullying and a shortage of specialists to work with children exposed to such abuse.
“We need to ensure that people are not ashamed to talk about being bullied which happens now when a child ends up in hospital and a criminal case is launched. A child should not be afraid of admitting that he or she is being victimised”, she said.
Lvova-Belova said that it was important to explain to children that bullying can happen to anyone and not their fault and stressed the need to talk calmly and constructively with a teacher or psychologist and ask for help. If this is unsuccessful, relatives could speak to the school principal or contact the Department of Education, the Federal Service for the Supervision of Education and Science or the Regional Ombudsman for Children’s Rights.
According to the Ombudsman, any physical violence would necessitate a different approach, i.e. “ to immediately withdraw a child from his or her school is extremely important. A medical examination should be carried out to confirm that abuse has taken place and written statements submitted to the Prosecutor’s Office and the police”, she said.