One in four children in Cyprus has said they are victims of bullying in schools and online, a study has found according to non-governmental organisation (NGO) Hope For Children on Wednesday.

The study the NGO referred to for its information was part of the National Strategy for the prevention and management of violence in school (2018-2024).

According to the information from the study, bullying online has increased in the last three years.

In addition, it emerged that one in five teens is a victim of solely cyberbullying, which is in line with European standards, and one in ten children are marginalised.

At the same time, the survey shows that 95 per cent of teachers have witnessed violence between male or female students, more than 50 per cent of students are observers/witnesses of an incident of school violence, while only 18 per cent of students will defend/complain to the victim of the incident.

“These findings underline the urgent need to implement actions aimed at preventing and effectively addressing and combating bullying,” Hope For Children said.

They added that the study has showed when parents or teachers discover a child is being bullied, immediate action must be taken.

“Parents and teachers should listen and offer support to the child, record the incident, inform the relevant school authorities, seek professional help if needed, foster open communication with the child, teach the child strategies to deal with bullying and promote a culture of respect and empathy,” the NGO added.

The announcement stated that the NGO conducts experiential workshops on the prevention and treatment of bullying.

There are two of the programmes offered, one called ‘Beat Bullying’ which trains students, through non-formal education, to deal with bullying, and the other is operation of Hope For Children Clubs in specific schools to educate children on their rights and obligations as defined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child and assign them the role of Child Rights Ambassadors in their schools.

They added that in cooperation with Spavo, they operate the European Child and Adolescent Support Line 116111 which enables all children to call free and anonymously to receive guidance and psychological support services. In addition, the NGO offers free and confidential psychological, social, legal support and guidance for children and parents, as well as long-distance guidance through the Pancyprian Support Line 1466.