Ulster GAA and our County Boards in conjunction with The Northern Ireland Anti-Bullying Forum (NIABF) and the Child Protection in Sport Unit (CPSU), and are calling on all units of the Association to take part in Anti-Bullying Week between 16th and 22nd November 2015. This year’s theme for the campaign is “What Bullying Means to Me” which looks at the definition of bullying, helping us to understand it as a ‘repeated use of power, intentionally to harm, hurt and adversely affect the rights and needs of another or others.’
Bullying is an issue that causes many problems within our clubs and communities. This year we are encouraging all members and clubs to formally adopt the GAA Anti Bullying Policy, to consider running the GAA Tackling Bullying Programme and to be proactive at club level about a zero tolerance approach to bullying throughout the association.
The GAA Tackling Bullying Programme is a resource developed by the GAA to provide assistance at club level in dealing with incidents of Bullying. It consists of a two-hour training workshop suitable for Coaches, Parents, Players and other Club personnel and also includes a range of publicity materials for Clubs. It is a fantastic resource available to all clubs, and during the workshop, participants will be equipped with tools that will enable them to identify, prevent and resolve incidents of Bullying that may occur.
Cyber Bullying – This is bullying behaviour that takes place via mobile phone or through the internet via email/instant messaging/social networking sites/Texts/messages or images that are sent or posted on sites, which hurt, intimidate or embarrass another person. Cyber Bullying is no different from any other forms of bullying in that the behaviour is the same and the impact no less devastating, and therefore incidents of cyber bullying should be treated as though they happened in real time. If you are aware of someone being cyberbullied, please consider the following:
Listen and learn about what has been going on, for how long, where it has been taking place and what exactly has been happening. If you are not their parent/guardian ensure you make them aware of the situation.
Suggest that they do not open messages from the addresses/numbers but allow you/parent/guardian to open them instead.
Consider changing their mobile number and restrict access to the number.
Changing online profile log in and passwords, and using the ‘reporting’ feature that is available on most social media sites asking for offending messages and photos to be removed. Ensure that online profiles are made private and only shared with friends. Restrict what can be posted to your profile until after you have given permission.
Involve other agencies if necessary, including PSNI/Childline or NSPCC.
Support the young person, your initial reaction is vital – Listen, Learn, Involve and Resolve.
Together with our County stars involved in the campaign we remind our clubs to ensure that the use of Mobile Phones is strictly prohibited in Club Changing rooms and to ensure they follow the GAA Social Media Guidelines which can be found at http://ulster.gaa.ie/club-maith.