Bullying and discrimination

Unfortunately people with Tourette’s can sometimes be an easy target for bullies.

Often in New Zealand there is a culture of thinking that ‘being bullied is part of growing up’. IT IS NOT.

Bullying is never okay.

Bullying can happen to anyone, anywhere. It can be aimed at children or adults; it can happen at in the school ground, in the workplace, in cyberspace and in the classroom.

What is bullying?

Bullying happens when one person or a group try to use their power to make another person feel powerless. That power, or tool for bullying, can come in many different forms.

It can be verbal: name-calling; laughing at someone; making rude comments about someone or making threats.

It can be physical: hitting or punching; pushing or shoving; taking people’s things or throwing away their belongings.

It can be non-verbal: mimicking a person’s behaviours like tics; making a face at someone or pulling the finger; eye rolling or excluding someone.

What is Cyberbullying?

Cyberbullying is similar to other types of bullying, except it takes place online and through text messages sent to cell phones. It can also be one of the hardest forms of bullying to detect and stop.

This type of bullying can include rude or threatening messages, photos or videos, online comments or pictures and websites that are created to ridicule people.

Signs to look out for

Here are possible warnings that someone you know is being bullied.

  1. Unexplained physical marks, cuts, bruises and scrapes
  2. Unexplained loss of possessions
  3. Doesn’t want to go to school or work
  4. Lack of interest in activities
  5. Suddenly sullen, withdrawn, evasive; remarks about feeling lonely
  6. Marked change in typical behaviour or personality
  7. Appears sad, moody, anger, anxious or depressed and that mood lasts with no known cause
  8. Comments on physical complaints about headaches, stomach aches often
  9. Difficulty sleeping
  10. Change in eating habits
  11. Begins bullying others
  12. Talks about feeling helpless or suicide

What to do if you suspect your child is being bullied

Kids often don’t tell adults they’re being bullied so you may have to voice your concerns. Review the signs of bullying and then ask direct questions.

“You’re always hungry: have you been eating your lunch?”
“Your iPod is missing? Did someone take it?”
“Your jacket is ripped. Did someone do that to you?”

Watch your child’s reactions. Often what a child doesn’t say may be more telling. Tune into your child’s body language. Silence is often powerful.

How to report bullying

At school
Please visit http://parents.education.govt.nz/secondary-school/wellbeing/bullying/

In the workplace
Please visit http://www.business.govt.nz/worksafe/information-guidance/pdf-documents-library/bullying-factsheet.pdf/view

 Be Cyber Safe
Please visit – https://www.netsafe.org.nz/

Discrimination

The freedom to be yourself without fear of discrimination is a basic human right as defined by the United Nations Convention of Human Rights.

However discrimination can come in a variety of forms and in different ways. It can happen in the workplace, at school and in the public arena.

Discrimination happens when someone is treated unfairly or less favourably than another person in the same or similar circumstances. Discrimination can be direct or indirect, and generally takes the form of exclusion or rejection from something.

Unfortunately discrimination tends to be more common when a person has a disability.

In New Zealand the Human Rights Commission has a support service within the office of the Disabilities Rights Commissioner whose job it is to ensure that people with disabilities have:

  • The equal enjoyment of civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights.
  • Education and the ability to access information.
  • Choose where to live and who to live with.
  • Use one’s own language including NZSL.
  • Be treated with respect, dignity and equity. We also have the right to not be harassed, taunted or teased because of who we are.

Everyone is equally entitled to human rights without discrimination. 

People with disabilities may experience unfair treatment because of things such as how they look or think, or their reliance on a guide dogs, wheelchairs or other remedial means. Discrimination can also be subtle, creating systemic barriers that lock people out of social and economic opportunities.

If you, or your child, experiences any form of discrimination the Human Rights Commission can assist with the likes of:

  • responding to, and resolving, human rights complaints;
  • educate, advocate and promote human rights
  • provide legal representation and bring proceedings

For more information visit www.hrc.co.nz