Bullying is a serious problem in schools and communities, contributing to poor social and mental health among Australian children and adolescents. While previous research has provided evidence-based strategies for school staff to manage and prevent bullying behaviours in school settings, the effectiveness of such strategies is limited by a lack of support and reinforcement by young people’s parents and families.
The Mandurah Bullying Prevention Project therefore built on previous school-based bullying intervention research to target young people’s parents through a social marketing campaign. The project aimed to educate and enhance parents’ understanding that bullying is not simply a school problem, and that parents should help their child cope with bullying through the process of open and honest communication.
The project was conducted by ECU’s Faculty of Business and Public Management and supported by the Child Health Promotion Research Centre, and consisted of three stages. During an initial Development Stage, formative research was conducted to explore the issue of bullying in Mandurah and the acceptability of prevention messages to be used with a social marketing approach. The project was implemented in the Mandurah community during the second stage of research, with evaluation of the outcomes explored in a third stage.
The objectives of this three-year intervention were to effect changes in young people’s attitudes to bullying behaviours and their acceptance or tolerance of these behaviours, as well as to facilitate parent and community ownership of the issues leading to bullying behaviour. In this way, the project was intended to enhance the safety and wellbeing of young people and the broader community. The project demonstrated success in achieving these objectives, with key outcomes including a five percent increase in the perception of adults in Mandurah that bullying can lead to delinquency and other problems in later life, and an increased recognition of the usefulness of parenting intervention strategies to combat antisocial behaviours, particularly the consistency of discipline and talking openly with children and adolescents about bullying.
Stronger Families and Communities Strategy: Early Intervention, Parenting and Family Relationship Support.
For further information about this project please contact Dr Debora Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org
Professor Nadine Henley
Curtin University, Professor Rob Donovan
Professor Donna Cross