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Children to be able to report bullies online

bullying

The government is considering creating an online platform through which children and parents will be able to report bullies, Education Minister Athena Michaelidou said on Wednesday.

Speaking on CyBC radio, she said her ministry is in “cooperation with Greece”, where an equivalent platform was unveiled on Tuesday.

An official announcement regarding plans for the creation of an anti-bullying platform in Cyprus is expected within the coming days.

Greece’s platform is available on the website https://stop-bullying.gov.gr, and was unveiled on Tuesday.

“Unfortunately, children often find it difficult to share the fact they have been bullied with their families”, the Greek minister of labour Domna Michaelidou, who was deputy education minister until January, had explained when setting out plans for the platform.

She added that the platform would also contain a wide range of information and material aimed at supporting and informing victims of bullying and their families.

Parents of primary school-age children are able to report cases of bullying against their children, while middle school-age and high school-age children are able to report cases of bullying against themselves, Greek education ministry spokeswoman Christiana Georgaki told the Cyprus Mail on Wednesday.

Children can log into the website using pre-existing usernames and passwords which they use to access other parts of the Greek education ministry’s online ecosystem, and parents too will be able to login using pre-existing usernames.

Children and parents are faced with a “comprehensive questionnaire” once logged in, she said.

The questionnaire contains questions regarding the type of incident – whether it be a case of physical, psychological, verbal, or another type of bullying – as well as the name of the perpetrator, and questions regarding the time and location of the incident, including whether it took place inside or outside of school.

Children and parents will also be able to write their own descriptions of incidents, as well as have the opportunity to upload photographs of evidence of any incidents which have taken place.

Once the questionnaire has been filled out and the report has been submitted, the person reporting the incident will receive a code.

The reports will in the first instance be sent to the school, where the school’s senior leadership team will evaluate them and decide on the next steps, Georgaki said.

In the event of an incident being particularly serious, she went on to say, it can then be passed on higher, including to local authorities, district school administrations, and even the police.

While this process is ongoing, children and parents will be kept aware of the status of their report via the platform itself, she said. Status updates are given when a report is received, read, pending, and evaluated, before next steps are taken.

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