GIBRALTAR, November 20, 2007 –
Equality Rights Group GGR has applauded the initiative of Bayside School in
acknowledging ‘the very real problem of bullying in schools’.
The group also praises the work of
DAWN in tackling issues of bullying in the workplace – and pledges to raise
the bullying issue with Commissioner of Police.
“Both these initiatives can help to
return self-esteem to victims and contribute to overcoming the problem,” GGT
said in a statement last night.
“With respect to the school, the
measures being taken are significant not only because they are backed up by
practical measures to alert and act against bullying and thus protect
pupils, but for what they also imply: acknowledgment and, by extension,
sensitisation of teaching staff to the issues involved. Confronting the
issues are the important first steps towards dealing with the problem.
"The issue of homophobic bullying
at school is an increasingly real one. Not too long ago, local young gay
people at school spoke openly in the Gibraltar press about their experiences
in this regard,” the statement continued.
“Equality Rights Group GGR
continues to hear of incidents of this nature, and we very much trust that
Bayside and other schools will develop their initiative to take into account
the many forms that bullying takes in our school system.
“In this particular context,
measures recently developed and introduced by the Leicestershire County
Council in the UK are of particular note, and we would hope the Education
Department in Gibraltar will introduce similar measures for advice,
information and support.
“On a wider consideration, GGR
views with particular concern the growing level of homophobic attacks in the
community. These range from attacking gay-identified premises to harassment
and physical violence against openly gay people in this community.
“Whilst these are issues which are
rarely reported or attended to in a public manner in Gibraltar, GGR is
keeping tabs on the situation in order to raise it with police and other
authorities on the Rock. Let no one think, however, that because these
incidents of intolerance do not receive public attention that they do not
exist in our community. They most certainly do.
“What we cannot have are
situations, as has indeed occurred over the past year or so, where a gay
person has been repeatedly subjected to insults, harassment and physical
violence to such an extent that they were driven to multiple suicide
“This ugly face of homophobia in
our community, underscored by institutional inequality, is a reality that
cannot and must not be hidden from public view or scrutiny. This is not a
“Even if it only happens to one or
two people it is, in our view, one or two people far too many. UK
statistics suggest that up to 41% of gay pupils are subjected to physical
violence at school. There is no reason why Gibraltar cannot learn from such
developments elsewhere so we are not condemned to repeat the same errors.
“GGR is certain that the majority
of people in Gibraltar disapprove and repudiate such treatment, but the
reality is one which the police and other responsible authorities must now
address with greater vigour and determination than ever before.
“To this end, Equality Rights Group
GGR will be raising the issue directly with the Commissioner of Police.”
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Posted: 20 November 2007 at
00:00 (UK time)