OTTAWA – The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada (EFC) has completed a review of recent statistics on bullying in Canadian schools. In By the Numbers: Rates and Risk Factors for Bullying: A Brief Examination of Canadian Bullying Statistics, the EFC provides an overview of bullying trends, the reported frequencies of bullying behaviours, risk factors for bullying and children’s and adults’ perspectives on bullying and criminalization of the behaviour.
“Several provinces are now proposing legislating on the issue of school bullying. If Canadians are going legislate on certain behaviours, we should make sure we’re using current and accurate information on the issue,” explains Faye Sonier, EFC Legal Counsel. “A recent series of tragic teen suicides has brought the issue to the forefront of Canadians’ minds.”
“When we started reviewing the Ontario bills 13 and 14 we realized that Canadian data on bullying was hard to come by, so we decided to undertake a research project on this issue, which lead to the report we’re releasing today,” states Don Hutchinson, EFC Vice-President and General Legal Counsel. “The data reveals some surprising findings.”
“While we might think from the media coverage that children are most often bullied for reasons relating to sexual orientation or gender identity, students are actually most frequently bullied, both in traditional forms of aggression as well as through cyber-bullying, for three primary reasons: body image or appearance; school grades or marks; and cultural background and race,” elaborates Hutchinson. “One survey showed that body image alone accounted for 38% of cases of bullying, grades or marks accounted for 17% and cultural background for 11%.”
“The data also revealed that students are very much aware of the damaging aspects of bullying and consider it to be a problematic form of aggression within their schools,” states Sonier. “In fact, 88% of students shared in one survey that bullying was ‘a major problem in their school.’ Additionally, 50% of adults said they remembered being bullied in school, and 30% think the abuse they suffered had a lasting and harmful effect.”
“Additionally, a 2012 poll revealed that adults believe that bullying occurs through all stages of life and 84% believed that bullying should be considered a crime,” continues Sonier. “This is very distinct from the anti-bullying legislation currently before the Ontario legislature, which would only amend the Education Act and address bullying behaviours that take place in schools.”
“We believe that every child is made in God’s image and is of inestimable worth, deserving of dignity and respect,” concludes Hutchinson. “We believe that no child should be bullied, marginalized or suffer discrimination for any reason. And we believe that if we’re going to reduce bullying in Canada, we need to make good decisions based on good data. Any measure should be inclusive and considerate of every child, bullied for any reason.”
Related: EFC Requests that Premier Dalton McGuinty Amend Bill 13 Immediately: Today, the EFC also issued an open letter to Premier McGuinty requesting three specific amendments to Bill 13, the Accepting Schools Act, to safeguard that Bill 13, or similar legislation, will be fully inclusive and constitutionally sound.
The amendments requested include the following: revision of the definition of “bullying” which is fraught with legal interpretational problems; establishing inclusive legislation by amending the ‘Pupil Activities’ section; an, to encourage diversity within our communities, removing the ‘third party use of schools’ section.
Read the letter here and visit the EFC’s Bill 13 page here for more information.
For more information or an interview contact:
The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada
(613) 233-9868, ext. 325