THE scourge that is bullying is finally being treated with the respect it deserves from community leaders.
Yesterday, the state government launched a new anti-bullying campaign, a year after it enacted Brodie’s Law – making it a criminal offence for workplace bullying.
The law was introduced after Brodie Panlock took her own life after being subjected to bullying.
Yesterday Rae and Damien Panlock fought back tears as they described their compassionate and beautiful daughter.
“What we need to do is educate and prevent; it doesn’t need to go where we went. Bullying is a scourge and it really needs to be stamped out.”
It’s a similar story which has been relayed through the pages of this newspaper and other media in recent years. The influence of social media and increased prevalence of mobile phones being owned by young people has opened new forms of bullying.
According to Lifeline, many of the 550,000 phone calls to the counselling service each year are from young people seeking help or advice about bullying.
Importantly, the government has targeted schools among its latest campaign. It is here where much of the most vicious impacts of bullying are felt.
Too often, such as Brodie’s case, the results can be fatal.
Our school teachers already have a huge task in educating our young people about the skills they need to obtain employment while also having to deal with such complicated issues as this one.
But that is what the community expects and the education systems have, to their credit, stepped up to the mark.
Today, we tell the story of a young Ballarat girl who was bullied so severely that the perpetrators even tried death threats. It’s a harrowing story and one which must make people sit up and listen.
We often blame governments for all the problems in society but Brodie’s’ Law is one example where action has been forthcoming. Now it’s time for the rest of the community to stand up and be counted.
We need to send a clear message that this kind of behaviour is not acceptable in any forum or situation.
Readers seeking support and information about suicide prevention can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467.