Making the Links: Bullying Prevention and Child Assault Prevention

All forms of abuse and assault are linked; they are an abuse of power with the intent to dominate another person. Effective bullying prevention is part of an overall strategy for child abuse prevention.

Particular attention is needed to address those forms of aggression and bullying which stem from larger social inequalities (for example, sexism, racism, classism, homophobia, and discrimination against people with disabilities and from religious minority groups). Forms of abuse need to be named in order to validate and expose the specific vulnerability and the life experiences of the children and teens targeted by them.

Abuse and violence are unacceptable. Practices aimed at bullying prevention send this general message to children and teens. Child abuse prevention strategies which address all forms of assault experienced by children and teens reinforce and deepen the message.

Effective school-based bullying prevention practices and strategies send these messages to children and teens:

  • All forms of cruelty, exploitation, domination, humiliation and abuse represent a negative form of power and control;
  • Abuse is never the fault or the responsibility of the person who is targeted;
  • Children, teens and all people have the right to live without violence and abuse in all spheres of their lives;
  • Adults can be resources for children and teens, providing support and playing an active role in protecting them against abuse;
  • It is important and necessary to break the secrecy surrounding abuse and to tell someone about it;
  • There are positive alternatives to abusive behaviour.