Workshops Against Bullying and Violence in Schools:
that’s what ESPACE does!
ROEQ’s reaction to the Manifesto of Children and Youth against
bullying and violence in schools in Quebec
The Association of ESPACE Organizations in Quebec (ROEQ) strongly believes that the prevention of all forms of violence against children remains one of the most effective strategies to fight against bullying.
The importance of prevention early in the life and socialization of a child can not be overstated. When we know that an incident of bullying occurs every seven minutes in a schoolyard and every 25 minutes in the classroom (Building Safer Communities Newsletter, Department of Justice of the Government of Canada, Spring, 2003, Issue 7.), it becomes clear that all children will be affected by such incidents, as bullies, as victims, or as witnesses. It is therefore important to equip not only adults, but also all children, from an early age, to train them on what bullying is and how, in a very concrete way, each person can make a difference.
The solution lies not only in the intervention of adults. Indeed, in 85% of cases of bullying between children, other children are present. When they intervene, bullying stops in less than 10 seconds in 57% of situations. However, witnesses help victims or intervene in only 25% of cases. This reaction is probably due in part to the fact that 80% to 90% of young people say they are uncomfortable when they witness an act of intimidation. Children need information and strategies to know how to respond.
However, children’s tools are essential, but not enough. Adults living in the child’s environment Parents, school staff and day care staff are essential links for effective prevention. They must be able to distinguish conflict from violence, the egalitarian relationship from abuse of power.
“Among other things, we want schools to be required to offer anti-bullying and violence awareness workshops to all students and adults several times a year. I Yes! This is what SPACE organizations in Quebec have been doing for 30 years, working for and with children, with the support of those around them, to help them prevent violence and empower them to protect themselves against any form of aggression. Following the release of the Children and Youth Manifesto Against Bullying and Violence in Schools in Quebec, the ROEQ wishes to stress the importance of preventing all forms of violence, not just bullying between children, but also adult violence against children. This violence, which can be psychological, verbal, physical or sexual, remains a reality for too many children in Quebec. Since most forms of violence are concomitant with each other, ROEQ believes that the fight against bullying must involve a global awareness of all forms of violence in order to be truly effective.
Through an educational program composed of workshops adapted to their age and their needs, ESPACE makes children aware of the respect of their rights and those of others, and equips them to recognize violence, to develop effective strategies in the face of various forms of aggression, namely where and how to seek help and denounce violence. But to reach all the children of Quebec, to be able to visit each school, it is essential that the organizations of independent community action are recognized for their expertise among others by a better governmental financing to the mission. The government must support its laws and intentions with concrete actions by offering financial means to community organizations, such as ESPACE, to do their work on the ground so that all children in Quebec can live a safe and peaceful childhood.
The Association of ESPACE Organizations in Quebec
Joël Castonguay 418 667-7070
i Manifesto of children and youth against bullying and violence in schools in Quebec.