Published: Tue, 25 June 2013
“Over 1,700 young Europeans are at risk of death by suicide this year due to bullying and cyber-bullying according to research by a leading charity, Beat Bullying UK,” Sean Kelly MEP said after hosting a major debate on how to eradicate bullying, in Brussels today (Tuesday).
“These are preventable deaths and the EU has a responsibility to protect young people from the scourge of bullying in any form it takes – online, physical or emotional battering,” Mr Kelly continued.
“Today, the message was clear – we need an EU and national level anti-bullying campaign involving key stakeholders in education, government and commercial and youth sectors in order to eradicate bullying once and for all. We cannot allow any more young people to be tortured and negatively impacted in this way anymore and we certainly do not want any more lives lost tragically because of it.”
The Ireland South MEP sent the strong message to the European Commission, Parliament and national governments in co-hosting the panel debate on bullying with Phil Prendergast MEP in the European Parliament today.
Participants heard from MEPs, a European Commission representative, Facebook’s Policy Officer and from the leading figures and youth mentors with Beat Bullying UK.
“I was particularly moved by the account of one young Beat Bullying Mentor, Georgia (pictured with Sean Kelly MEP – see attached), who told us about how her experience at the hands of bullies led to a suicide attempt at just 12 years of age. Thankfully, she is here today to tell her story and to help other young people overcome such torment. Unfortunately, right now there are 25 million children and young people in Europe are currently affected by bullying who need our help.
“I am glad to say there was a complete cross-party and multi-stakeholder agreement that we, as a society, need to do all we can to eradicate bullying. We need to change the behaviour, the attitude and the belief systems that allow bullying to persist in our schools, in our communities and in workplaces in some cases.
“We are strongly advocating for an EU wide Anti-Bullying Day to raise awareness of the issue,” Mr Kelly added.
The Ireland South MEP recently held Ireland’s first ever forum on Cyberbullying in Cork earlier this year, leading to key recommendations for national action on bullying.