disablist dublin city university project bullying dcu
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Dublin City University is to lead a new two-year European project to address the issue of disablist bullying.
Disablist bullying is a specific form of bullying against people with a perceived or actual disability or an additional need. Those with special educational needs and disabilities are up to three times more likely to suffer from bullying, the official launch heard on Monday morning.
The project DisAbuse will look at suitable prevention and counter strategies of disablist bullying and will be led by DCU’s National Anti-Bullying Research and Resource Centre.
The project has been financed by the Higher Education Authority and EU Erasmus+ Programme.
A 2007 study from Mencap found that 82 per cent of children and young people with a learning disability have experienced bullying. Of those, 77 per cent were verbally abused while 60 per cent were abused physically.
More than three-quarters said they were scared to go out as a result of being bullied while a third said they hid away in their bedroom.
Prof Mona O’Moore, former head of education at Trinity College Dublin, said disablist bullying included being called names, being left out, being spat at, kicked and being the target of graffiti.
Minister for Higher Education Mary Mitchell O’Connor said “all forms of bullying are unacceptable and we know that they can have a devastating impact on people’s lives”.
“Diablist bullying is particularly complex and it is important that efforts are made to understand the issue and then to develop strategies to combat it.
“The DisAbuse project will play a significant role here. It brings together experts from Ireland and across Europe to provide a cross-national insight into research, policy and practice.
“It will also provide practical courses in tackling diablist bullying with people with special educational needs and additional needs as well as resources for teachers and professional trainers.
“This important work will bring a deeper understanding to the area and will help us to better support people who may experience such bullying.”
DisAbuse will also produce a report based on data gathered with policy recommendations disseminated to all stakeholders including regional and national governmental authorities. An online repository sharing research and training material is also due to be established.
Dr James O’Higgins Norman, director of the National Anti-Bullying Research and Resource Centre, said the project will aim to “improve socialisation, reduce marginalisation and ease users’ lives in school and their migration into adulthood.
“It will also support and educate teachers and trainers in promoting equity, diversity and inclusion in learning through educational institutions and wider society.”
The project’s European partners include Fondazione Mondo Digitale in Rome, the University Institute of Lisbon and the University of Murcia.
“The partners will co-operate to evaluate and combine research, best practice and modern teaching approaches with widely used technological means,” Dr O’Higgins Norman added.