A lot of people have experienced bulling in one form or another at some point in their lives. In recent years statistics have shown New Zealand to be the second highest for bullying rates in the OECD. There is also evidence that those with disabilities are more likely and vulnerable to be the target of bullying. While there is a growing awareness of what bullying is, the various ways in which it takes place as well as a deeper understanding of the devastating impacts in can have as a result, it is still a difficult subject to tackle.
We got together a group of young people who bravely shared their experiences of being bullied. These people also shared how they dealt with such experiences, what kind of support helped, and what was unhelpful. Because of these stories an amazing anti-bullying project named “Icebreaker” was born and is now presented to small groups as well as schools across Auckland. Icebreaker is made of two separate workshops, one created for young people and another for parents, guardians and other support networks. The workshops aim to bring awareness to what exactly bullying is; as well as working to build resilience in young people while giving them some ideas on how to express to someone what is going on with them and what kind of support they would like the trusted person to give. Sometimes adults will see signs that a young person may be getting bullied before the young person even says anything. The trusted adult version of Icebreaker focuses on providing adults with the tools and confidence to support a younger person who is experiencing bullying while also providing valuable insight from a younger person’s point of view.