This week Ulster GAA, in conjunction with The Northern Ireland Anti-Bullying Forum (NIABF) and the Child Protection in Sport Unit (CPSU), have been taking part in Anti-Bullying Week (16th to 20th November 2020).
As part of Anti-Bullying Week 2020, NIABF promoted the initiative of ‘Odd Socks Day’ for the first time, an opportunity to encourage people to express themselves and celebrate their individuality and what makes us all unique! Participants wore odd socks to your school, workplace or when exercising. You could even have done it at home if you are shielding or isolating during the pandemic.
The GAA Tackling Bullying Programme is a resource developed by the GAA to provide assistance to members to help them deal with incidents of Bullying. The two-hour training workshop is suitable for Coaches, Parents, committee members and other Club personnel and also includes a range of publicity materials for Clubs. The workshop aims to equip participants with tools and skills that will enable them to identify, prevent and resolve incidents of Bullying that may occur in their clubs. Bullying is an issue that causes many problems within our clubs and communities, and we encourage all clubs to consider these top 5 tips:
- Support the campaign by displaying the promotional materials and attending the workshop.
- Formally adopt the Anti Bullying Policy at Club Executive level & inform members.
- First response by coaches/mentors when they see this type of behaviour happening is vital, left unchallenged, people will continue to exhibit this type of behaviour, which has the danger to lead to it becoming acceptable. It is highly effective within any squad when their coach/mentor calls unacceptable behaviour for what it is and this should be promoted at all levels.
- Create a listening culture within the club where children and young people are encouraged to raise concerns and tell a trusted adult if they are on the receiving end of this type of behavior or have witnessed it happening to others in the club.
- Adopt a zero-tolerance approach to this type of behaviour where it is regarded as a serious breach of the Code of Behaviour and shall be dealt with accordingly.
Cyber Bullying – This is bullying behaviour that takes place via mobile phone or through the internet via email/instant messaging/social networking sites/Texts/messages or images that are sent or posted on sites, which hurt, intimidate or embarrass another person. Cyber Bullying is no different from any other forms of bullying in that the behaviour is the same and the impact no less devastating, and therefore incidents of cyber bullying should be treated as though they happened in real time. If you are aware of someone being cyberbullied, please consider the following:
- Listen and learn about what has been going on, for how long, where it has been taking place and what exactly has been happening. If you are not their parent/guardian ensure you make them aware of the situation.
- Suggest that they do not open messages from the addresses/numbers but allow you/parent/guardian to open them instead.
- Consider changing their mobile number and restrict access to the number.
- Changing online profile log in and passwords, and using the ‘reporting’ feature that is available on most social media sites asking for offending messages and photos to be removed. Ensure that online profiles are made private and only shared with friends. Restrict what can be posted to your profile until after you have given permission.
- Involve other agencies if necessary, including PSNI/Childline or NSPCC.
- Support the young person, your initial reaction is vital – Listen, Learn, Involve and Resolve.
GAA Code of Behaviour – Our Code, the Code of Best Practice in Youth Sport for the GAA includes the Anti- Bullying Policy, which aims to adopt a whole organisational approach to addressing bullying and provides advice and support to clubs in the area of Safeguarding. We remind all clubs to implement the Code of Behaviour with all relevant personnel in your club including players/coaches/committee members/parents/referees and supporters at the start of each season. It is also appropriate at this time of year to remind you to make sure that all those working with children and young people in your club have been appropriately trained and adequately vetted prior to commencing work in the club.
For more information or to organise a workshop in your area or club, please contact 02837521900 / Shane.firstname.lastname@example.org .
Finally, we take this opportunity to thank you for helping us to achieve our aim of creating and maintaining the safest possible environment for young people and children in the Association.