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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 6 Hansard (23 May) . . Page.. 1661..


MR MOORE (continuing):

The committee has made some suggestions to you as to how you can get through and resolve some of those details, particularly the one with regard to the Government Printing Office. Instead of your initial reaction to reject this report out of hand, when we do see the Government's response to it I hope that it will be a rational response instead of the sort of rubbish we have had so far.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

SOCIAL POLICY - STANDING COMMITTEE
Report on Inquiry into Prevention of Violence in Schools

MS TUCKER (12.01): I present Report No. 2 of the Standing Committee on Social Policy entitled "Report on the Inquiry into Prevention of Violence in Schools", together with extracts of the minutes of proceedings. I move:

That the report be noted.

Mr Speaker, firstly, I would like to thank the other members of the committee - Ms McRae, Ms Reilly, who replaced Ms McRae, and Mr Hird - for their energy and interest in this inquiry. I would also like to thank Judith Henderson, who was the secretary and who worked extremely hard in the whole area. I would like to express also my thanks to all the people who gave their time to talk to the committee and to share their knowledge and experiences with us.

This committee confirmed that extreme violence is a problem in schools even though only a small percentage - one per cent of students - are actually involved in it. That is about 400 students in the ACT, and it is an issue that we do have to address seriously. Of equal concern is the wider spread occurrence of more subtle forms of violence which is sometimes called bullying, and subtle harassment of various kinds, including verbal sexual harassment, racism, homophobia and so on.

In Australia the problem of bullying in our schools has been identified as a major concern by State education authorities and the Federal Government. Research shows that one in seven children are subject to serious bullying at some point in their school life. Kids have always known that bullying and violence is horrible, but now it is better understood by educators and policy-makers as well that bullying is physically harmful, psychologically damaging and socially isolating. Effects can last beyond school into adult life. It is recognised that bullying is a damaging aspect also to the adult Australian work force.

If members of this place look at the artwork which will be on display in the gallery next week, I believe that they will understand how painful the school experience can be. There are some drawings included in the report which members will be able to look at, but I urge all members to go to this exhibition because I believe that it is a very powerful statement of the experience of some young people in our school system. I was personally very affected by some of this work and I believe that it is as good and as strong


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