Monthly Archives: October, 2019

Physical, sexual violence common in Atlantic schools, national survey shows Social Sharing

October 28th, 2019 Respect in School

SOURCE: Karissa Donkin · CBC News · 

A lack of national data on violence and bullying prompted CBC News to ask young people about their experiences

More than one-quarter of young people surveyed in Atlantic Canada say others had shared sexual rumours or messages about them while they were in school.

Reflecting on their years in school, one in 10 of those surveyed also said a sexual act had been forced upon them.

The CBC News-commissioned survey asked more than 4,000 young people across Canada about their experiences with violence, bullying, racism and homophobia in school.

It was prompted by a months-long CBC News investigation that found a lack of national data on the amount of violence that happens in Canadian schools, along with a culture of underreporting.

The survey suggests peer-on-peer violence is common in Canadian schools, and in some cases, it starts as early as elementary school.

The findings were disappointing for Glen Canning, who has made it his life’s mission to share the story of his late daughter, 17-year-old Rehtaeh Parsons.

 

She died after a suicide attempt in 2013, following what her family has described as repeated bullying. Her parents have said it began after Parsons was sexually assaulted at a house party two years earlier and a photo of the incident was circulated online.

“Somewhere in your statistics is somebody whose life is on a thread,” Canning said.

‘A failure’

Canning has spent the last 6½ years sharing his daughter’s story in schools across Canada.

Hearing that so many students in the region have endured sexual violence and bullying “points to a failure” to address the root issues, he said.

He believes people need to learn about consent at a young age, and young men need to be involved in fixing the problem.

“Six and a half years after Rehtaeh Parsons died, we’re still dealing with much of the same kind of sexual objectifying of people and harassment and abuse,” Canning said.

The name Rehtaeh Parsons also came to mind when Paul Bennett saw the findings of the survey.

“It does surprise me … that after all of the discussion and all of the measures that were introduced after the Rehtaeh Parsons case, that we don’t seem to see much improvement in terms of student behaviour,” said Bennett, who is director of Schoolhouse Institute, an education research and consulting firm based in Halifax.

“And we don’t seem to have made a whole lot of success in putting an end to this abusive forum of cyberbullying.”

Physical violence, hateful comments

More than one-third, or 34 per cent, of Atlantic respondents in the survey also said they were physically assaulted (slapped, kicked or beaten) in elementary or middle school.

For students in high school, the number creeps up to 38 per cent, slightly higher than the national average.

More than one-quarter of young people surveyed said they faced being called hateful names or comments that are racist (29 per cent) or homophobic or transphobic (26 per cent) at least once while attending high school.

Bennett would like to see a reliable, national source of data on student behaviour. Across the country, the data is incomplete and there aren’t consistent definitions of behaviours.

“Since 2011, we have not had a national body that collected, organized and reported on data on students,” he said.

“That was called the Canadian Council on Learning. There’s a huge hole in the Canadian educational system in that we find it difficult to compare data from province to province or to discuss things in a way that’s similar from province to province.”

Half of students didn’t report

Nationally, the survey found that nearly half (45 per cent) of students who experienced violence in high school didn’t report any of the incidents.

A smaller proportion, 35 per cent, reported some incidents to school officials, while only 17 per cent said they reported all of the incidents to school officials.

The survey was carried out for CBC by Mission Research. The findings were derived from 4,065 online surveys completed by Canadians aged 14 to 21 between Aug. 26 and Sept. 6. In a probability sample of this size, the results would be considered accurate within 1.6 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

When Canning speaks to students, he always tells them to tell someone what’s happened to them until someone listens.

He believes teachers need to create an environment where young people feel they can speak up and they’ll be believed.

“In all your statistics out there, there’s a Rehtaeh Parsons,” Canning said.

“There’s someone’s child out there who has been assaulted, who’s been bullied, who’s been put down and pushed around. Somewhere out there is some kid thinking, why doesn’t anybody care?”

What should be done?

For respondents who had experienced violence and bullying and who weren’t satisfied with the school’s response, the survey asked why that was the case. Most respondents said no action had been taken by the schools in response to their complaint.

One said, “Nothing ever seemed to be done. Everything just seemed to come back to the same routine of hate after about a week.”

“They told me they couldn’t regulate what happened online, and since the girl had a bad home life they didn’t want to punish her,” said another.

The survey also asked what more should be done to make students feel safe.

Some respondents made suggestions like having strictly enforced zero-tolerance policies, instituting new training for students around sexual health, race, ethnicity and LGBTQ issues. Others suggested more teachers or security staff are  needed.

“Physical and sexual assaults should be handled by the police, not the schools,”said one. “Why is it OK to commit crimes, at school, and not anywhere else?

“The rights of bullies to an education should not trump the rights of all the other students to a safe [learning environment].”

“I wish I knew,” replied another.

Kids Help phone counsellors are available 24/7 at 1-800-668-6868, on social media at @KidsHelpPhone or by texting CONNECT to 686868 for youth who need support.  

Psychological safety part of amended occupational health act

October 28th, 2019 Respect in the Workplace

SOURCE: Kevin Yarr · CBC News · 

 

Government is giving employers time to prepare for the new rules

 

The P.E.I. government is rolling out a public education campaign over the next several months on new workplace harassment regulations and an Act to Amend the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

The changes include a definition of harassment, set out the responsibilities of workers and employers and require employers to have a policy on workplace harassment.

“Employers will have a responsibility to ensure the safety of the workers. And this will include not just physical safety, but their psychological safety as well,” said Danny Miller, director of occupational health and safety.

“It’s our hope that these regulations will go a long way to improve awareness, education and the prevention of workplace harassment.”

The new regulations were prompted by a 2013 incident, in which the Workers Compensation Board found workplace bullying and the related stress was likely the cause of the death of an Island man.

 

The regulations include information on how to make a harassment complaint and how that complaint should be investigated. They will come into effect in July.

Miller said the delay in bringing in the changes will allow employers and workers a reasonable amount of time to understand the legislation and prepare for it.

A guide to the new rules has been developed. In advance of implementation there will be public education sessions as well as workshops for employers.

 

 

Respect Group and Workplace Fairness Action Summit: The Intersection of Psychological Health & Safety and Civility & Respect

October 24th, 2019 Respect in the Workplace, Uncategorised

 

 

 

Is your organization at a loss as how to address psychological health and safety or challenged with Alberta’s new Occupation Health and Safety (OHS) code?  We are bringing support.  Join us for the day to get insight into this complex issue and take away real tools you can immediately apply in your workplace.   This Action Summit will examine the intersection of Psychological Health and Safety and Civility & Respect.

Sessions will benefit Senior HR Professionals, Senior Occupational Health and Safety Professionals, and those leading Municipalities, Businesses, Unions, Educational Institutions and Non profits.

By attending you will:

  • Understand what your duty is as an employer to address the OHS issues and their impact on psychological health and safety.
  • Walk away with a road map of what your organization needs to do to create or improve upon a psychologically healthy workplace
  • Receive compliance and risk reduction ideas and solutions that can be easily implemented within your organization.
  • Be able to build a business case, determine your organizations return on investment and successfully position the importance and value within your organization
  • Hear from other leading organizations as they share their experiences regarding challenges and successes in creating psychologically health workplaces.

 

More details on the day including a full agenda can be found here: https://workplacefairnesswest.ca/detailed-session-information/

 

 

Saskatchewan Leading The Way With Safe Sport Campaign

October 8th, 2019 Activity Leaders, Respect in Sport, Uncategorised

Released on October 7, 2019

The Government of Saskatchewan and Sask Sport Inc., have teamed up to launch a joint marketing campaign to increase awareness on the tools and resources available to assist coaches, athletes and parents on bullying, abuse, harassment and discrimination in sport.

“Ensuring a healthy, safe and respectful environment for all participants in amateur sport across our province is a priority,” Parks, Culture and Sport Minister Gene Makowsky said. “Thanks to the dedication of Sask Sport and the provincial sport organizations, coaches, parents and athletes, this campaign compliments the hard work already underway.”

The marketing campaign will increase awareness and use of important resources, contacts and training available online, such as the Respect Resource Line. Expert staff provide information, bilingual support, resources and referrals pertaining to issues of bullying, abuse, harassment and discrimination in sport by phone, text or email.

This confidential and anonymous resource is intended to assist coaches, athletes and parents in determining the most appropriate course of action. This campaign would not be possible without Sask Sport and their members, considered leaders across Canada with their dispute resolution policies, services and tools. Sask Sport includes the Respect Resource Line and the Respect in Sport online training programs for coaches and activity leaders.

“Sask Sport thanks the Ministry of Parks, Culture and Sport, our member organizations and the many partners who have actively worked with us over the past 20 years to provide good governance practices and policies that reduce the risk of conflicts and disputes in sport,” Sask Sport Inc. volunteer Board Chair Kenric Exner said. “This effort has created a strong foundation for helping to prevent, identify and effectively deal with bullying, abuse, harassment and discrimination, and we are eager to share the important resources and information in order to continue to help keep sport safe, healthy and fun in Saskatchewan.”

“We are so proud of our partnership with the Government of Saskatchewan and Sask Sport,” Respect Group Co-Founder Sheldon Kennedy said. “Training programs are only successful when organizations make them a priority. Kudos to Sask Sport and the sport leaders they serve.”

In addition, the campaign supports Sask Sport and their members in the promotion of resources to ensure more coaches are trained in current safe sport best practices.

For more information on the various sport resources, contacts and training, visit http://www.sasksport.sk.ca/safesport/.

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For more information, contact:

Jamie Toth
Parks, Culture and Sport
Regina
Phone: 306-787-3506
Email: jamie.toth@gov.sk.ca
Cell: 306-527-8152

Leah Laxdal
Sask Sport Inc.
Saskatoon
Phone: 306-975-0871
Email: llaxdal@sasksport.sk.ca

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