Image 8.1Bullying is not just an issue for schools to deal with – especially since today’s students have the opportunity to bully via technology, which often occurs outside of school grounds and hours. Schools that encourage the active participation of families and community service providers recognise that addressing bullying is the responsibility of the whole-school community. It is important for schools to collaborate with parents in presenting consistent messages to children and adolescents that encourage uptake of pro-social behaviours and attitudes. Moreover, creating links with relevant health, educational and community agencies that provide services to students and their families will foster vital support for school action to reduce bullying.

Research shows that collaborative partnerships are beneficial in fostering school action to reduce bullying. The key link between actions and messages implemented in the school setting and those applied in
family and community environments is identified in the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Health Promoting Schools model, where it is described as a way to reinforce learning and positive behaviours. The WHO model recommends that children and adolescents are exposed to adult role models who can help shape their knowledge, attitudes and behaviours, acknowledging the key role of families and communities in influencing child and adolescent development. To ensure a consistent approach, it is important for the implementation of anti-bullying initiatives to involve both groups at every opportunity.