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Cyberbullying Strategy

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Presentation on theme: "Cyberbullying Strategy"— Presentation transcript:

1 Cyberbullying Strategy
The ‘STOP HARASSING ME’ POSTCARD School-Wide Strategy Presented by Jo Clarke and Constable Nathan Vaughan The ‘STOP HARASSING ME’ POSTCARD School-Wide Cyberbullying Strategy

2 Context In 2009 it was identified that there was an increasing number of incidences of cyber and text bullying throughout the Wynnum/Redlands schools. At this time students could only either ignore the behaviour or report it to Police. If incidents occurred outside of school hours there was confusion about how far the schools’ bullying policies could extend and how involved the school could become in dealing with reports of cyber bullying.

3 The Response The development of the ‘Stop Harassing Me’ Postcard created a middle step between these options for harassed students. This enabled students and school community to take a pro-active approach to cyberbullying. The Postcard empowers students to inform the bully, in a supported way, that the messages they are receiving may be illegal and that they want the messages to stop.



6 CRITERIA for Postcard Use
The Postcard can only be used by a student who: Has received menacing, threatening and/or offensive messages, via text, voic or internet (with supporting evidence); and Can identify the cyberbully and the school they attend; and Wants the messages to stop. The Postcard can not be used to address verbal and/or physical assaults.

7 How does it work? A school-wide, year level specific presentation is conducted to inform all students about What cyberbullying is, The effects of cyberbullying, The legal aspects of cyberbullying, and The ‘Stop Harassing Me’ Postcard resource. If a student believes they have been cyberbullied, they can approach the appointed school representative (usually a Deputy Principal) and show them the messages they have received. If the school representative deems these messages to meet the criteria for use, the student is offered the opportunity to complete a Postcard.

8 …How does it work continued
The student then writes on the Postcard Who has been sending them messages, What school that person attends, The time and date of the offensive message or the most offensive message received (if there are more than one), Their name, and Their signature. The harassed student’s involvement in this matter, at this stage, is now finalised.

9 …How does it work continued
The school representative meets with the cyberbully to caution them on their behaviour. The school representative writes their name on the Postcard, signs it and serves it upon the cyberbully. The cyberbully is required to sign the Postcard to acknowledge receipt of it. The signed Postcard is photocopied or scanned and kept on school records (for use if a breach occurs and to prove the school has taken action regarding the cyberbullying).

10 Advantages of the Postcard
At no time during this process does the harassed student come face-to-face with the cyberbully. The Postcard is a fast, effective strategy to increase awareness and combat incidence of cyberbullying. The process empowers bullied students to take action against cyberbulling. The process reduces the feelings of powerlessness that often result from experience of bullying. To this point, the process has been managed by school staff and has not required Police involvement.

11 If the Postcard is Breached
If after receiving the Postcard the cyberbully continues sending offensive/menacing/harassing messages, the harassed student may choose to make a formal complaint to Police under the offense of “Use of a carriage service to menace, harass or cause offence”. Police then request a copy of the Postcard from school records. The Postcard assists in charging the cyberbully, by proving “requisite capacity”. That the cyberbully: Has been asked to stop the offensive behaviour, and that they have chosen to ignore that request, Knew they were committing an offence, Knew what law they were breaking, Knew that Police could become involved if they continued in the offending behaviour.

12 What Law are We Talking About?
COMMONWEALTH CRIMINAL CODE ACT 1995 Section Using a carriage service to menace, harass or cause offence. (1) A person is guilty of an offence if:                      (a)  the person uses a carriage service; and (b)  the person does so in a way (whether by the method of use or the content of a communication or both) that reasonable persons would regard as being, in all the circumstances, menacing, harassing or offensive. Maximum Penalty:  Imprisonment for 3 years.

13 Student Feedback Students from 8 schools were given a survey in which they were asked for feedback on the School-Wide Strategy and the Postcard presentation. The survey was given to 1572 of approximately 5,500 students who attended Postcard presentations in 2010. Results showed that 33% of the students had experienced cyber-bullying. 70% of the students stated that they would use the Postcard if they were cyber-bullied. Question 1: Have you ever been cyber-bullied? Question 2: Would you use the ‘Stop Harassing Me’ Postcard if you were being cyber-bullied?

14 Student Feedback continued…
Results below are from 19 Wynnum/Redlands and 32 Rockhampton students in Queensland who had used the Stop Harassing Me Postcard to address cyberbullying. Question 1: Did the cyberbullying from this person stop after the postcard was given to them? Question 2: Would you use the ‘Stop Harassing Me’ Postcard again?

15 Staff Feedback - School-Wide Strategy Effectiveness
Key stakeholders in 7 secondary schools in the Wynnum-Redlands area were given the opportunity to provide feedback on the school-wide Postcard strategy: 100% agreed that the Postcard strategy increased their students’ knowledge of cyberbullying and its effects. 100% agreed that the Postcard was easy to put into practice. 100% agreed that the Postcard is an effective strategy for reducing cyberbullying in their school. 88% agreed that the Postcard strategy had reduced incidence of cyberbullying in their school (the remaining 12% were unsure).

16 Any Questions? For additional information on the Stop Harassing Me Postcard contact Nathan Vaughan, Senior Constable Cleveland School Based Police Officer Wynnum District Child Protection and Investigation Unit Contact: Michele MacNamara, Team Leader Youth Support Coordinator Initiative, BABI Youth & Family Service Contact: (07) or Contributors of this initiative include Department of Communities, Department of Education, Queensland Police, BABI Youth & Family Service’s Youth Support Coordinator Initiative and Redland City Council.

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