Content analysis of school anti-bullying policies: a comparison between New Zealand and Victoria, Australia

Marsh, Louise; McGee, Rob; Hemphill, Sheryl A.; Williams, Sheila
August 2011
Health Promotion Journal of Australia;Aug2011, Vol. 22 Issue 3, p172
Academic Journal
Issue Addressed: To undertake a detailed analysis of the content of anti-bullying policies in schools in New Zealand (NZ) and Victoria, Australia. Methods: The content of anti-bullying policies from 253 NZ schools and 93 Victorian schools were analysed in terms of definitions of bullying behaviour; reporting, recording and responding to bullying incidents; communicating and evaluating the policy; and outlining strategies for preventing bullying. Results: There was a wide range in 'policy scores' between schools, and Victorian schools scored higher on nearly every area compared with NZ schools. In both regions, definitions rarely included bullying on the grounds of homophobia, religion or disability; or bullying between adults and students. Policies also lacked detail about the responsibilities of non-teaching staff in dealing with bullying, and rarely described follow-up after a bullying incident. Few policies explained how the policy would be evaluated, and many failed to mention preventive strategies. Conclusion: This study highlights some important areas that are deficient in NZ and Victorian school anti-bullying policies, and emphasises the need for guidance on how schools can develop an effective anti-bullying policy. Having more comprehensive anti-bullying policies will give schools a much better chance of reducing bullying.


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