More and more children, teenagers, adults, parents and teachers struggle with bullying almost every day in the home, in the playground, in the classrooms, on the internet, within communities and beyond. Kids with a need for domination over others bully almost on a daily basis those of their peers who seem to be weaker or different, more vulnerable and with lower self-esteem.
Bullying is not a recent phenomenon, but one that has existed for generations in a variety of forms. A person is being bullied when he/she is exposed, repeatedly over a period of time, to negative actions from one or more people. Negative action is when a person intentionally inflicts injury or discomfort upon another person, through physical contact, verbal abuse or in other ways (Olweus, 1993). It includes physical bullying (e.g. pushing, hitting, or kicking), psychological bullying (e.g. spreading false rumors), verbal bullying (e.g. calling names and verbal harassment), cyber-bullying, racial bullying and sexual bullying. Even though the majority of cases of bullying occur during school years, it leads to serious long term consequences for the victim and/or the victimizer. In fact, in some cases it creates emotional, psychological and physical harm that may scar the victims and the bullies for their rest of their lives.
Various and important projects on bullying have been implemented at an EU level. However, most of them tend to focus only on one aspect of the problem and therefore do not result in a common response towards addressing the problem in its various forms. EAN project aims at filling in this gap and providing a unified European approach through the cooperation of 17 partners from 12 EU Member States with extensive experience in the field.
Funded under the Daphne Programme III of the European Commission, EAN’s goal is the creation of a toolkit of successful interventions and a common European policy against bullying. This endeavor will be achieved through building capacity of partners, the public awareness-raising on the problem and the participation of children. At the final stage of the project the establishment of a European Anti-bullying Network will bring together the various efforts in this field and transform them into a unified single voice in European level.