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Anti-Bullying Laws

With the phenomenon of bullying increasing in schools and workplaces these days, one of the main goals of society is to prevent this bullying from occurring and to curb its spread. If employed, anti-bullying laws are one strategy that can help bring about this change. Thus, an increasing number of countries around the world today have set up and implemented numerous laws and policies to offer protection and justice to victims of bullying.


Given below is a list of anti-bullying laws and policies as per different countries:


India:

There is no explicit legislation in India to deal with bullying in schools. However, in 2015, The Raghavan Committee study, titled The Menace of Ragging in Educational Institutions and Measures to Curb It, was released by the Ministry of Human Resource Development of the Government of India. The HRD ministry urged CBSE schools to establish anti-ragging committees at the school level, as well as imposing severe punishments on students who engage in bullying, which might include rustication in the most extreme situations. According to the Raghavan Committee report, if bullying occurs on school grounds, instructors and the principal should be held accountable.


Japan:

On June 28, 2013, the Japanese government introduced the Anti-Bullying Act, which was enacted three months later, on September 28. This act establishes fundamental anti-bullying principles, which requires schools to work together with parents and outside specialists to avoid bullying, as well as to identify and report major bullying instances to the institution with immediate jurisdiction and find solutions. This act also compels government agencies and localities to make efforts in fostering research and study anti-bullying policies. A law has also been enacted to combat workplace harassment, including the implementation of "consultation systems" to prevent it and barring companies from terminating or mistreating employees who report harassment.

Australia:

Although some aspects of bullying may fall under stalking, harassing, or defamation laws, Australia has no dedicated anti-bullying legislation. Anti-discrimination laws in the Commonwealth also provide some protection against bullying when people are bullied because of their age, sex, ethnicity, disability, or religion. The Fair Work Act of 2009 also prohibits bullying. Bullying is defined under the Act as "continued inappropriate behavior towards another person or group that poses a health and safety concern." Bullying excludes any fair management action taken reasonably . Each state or territory develops its anti-bullying regulations, which are then implemented in public schools. Private school boards, on the other hand, are in charge of overseeing their institutions because public school legislation does not apply to them.


United Kingdom:

All public (not private) schools are required by law to have a behavior policy that includes measures to prevent all forms of bullying among students. Anti-discrimination laws also must be followed by schools. This means that school staff must take steps to prevent discrimination, harassment, and victimization. This is true for all schools in England and Wales, as well as the majority of schools in Scotland. Although cyberbullying is not a criminal offense in the United Kingdom, several laws can be used to prosecute it. Individuals can be protected from harassment under the Protection from Harassment Act, but sending anonymous, abusive phone calls is illegal under the Telecommunications Act. These laws have also been effectively utilized to prosecute cases of cyberbullying in the past.


France:

In France, bullying is referred to as "moral harassment," and the country has laws in place to prohibit it. Moral harassment is described as "all repeated actions aimed at degrading the human, relational, or material working conditions of one or more victims, in such a way as to compromise their rights and dignity, potentially having a serious impact on their health and jeopardizing their career prospects" Bullying can be prosecuted both civilly and criminally under these statutes. Maximum punishments include up to two years in prison and a €30,000 fine. Bullying that occurs within the workplace is also the responsibility of the employer, and the tormented employee can sue the company for damages. In France, however, measures to combat bullying in the classroom are less developed. The previous administration was the first to raise the matter, but in most situations, parents must contact the French counterpart of parent-teacher groups to express their concerns. How the matter is addressed is then determined by the circumstances and the policies of each institution.


United States:

Bullying is handled in the USA by state and local laws. A full 41 of the 50 states of the US have both laws and policies in place to handle schoolyard bullying, and in some states, bullying appears in the criminal code and may be applied to juveniles. At present, no federal law directly addresses bullying. In some cases, bullying overlaps with discriminatory harassment which is covered under federal civil rights laws enforced by the United States schools are obligated by these laws to address conduct that is 1) Severe, pervasive or persistent 2) Creates a hostile environment at school. That is, it is sufficiently serious that it interferes with or limits a student’s ability to participate in or benefit from the services, activities, or opportunities offered by a school 3) Based on a student’s race, color, national origin, sex, disability, or religion. Workplace bullying laws, on the other hand, are covered by the harassment statutes in the United States. Harassment is characterized as illegal when 1) enduring offensive conduct becomes a condition of continued employment, or 2) the conduct is severe or pervasive enough to create an intimidating, hostile, or abusive work environment.

Canada:

Canada’s definition of bullying is extensive, characterizing the act as one of ‘intentional harm, repeated over time, in a relationship where an imbalance of power exists. This can be applied to physical attacks, verbal harassment, and social exclusion. Although ‘bullying' is not a federally punishable offense in Canada, every action taken by a bully is covered by other laws. Criminal Harassment (CCC 264), Uttering Threats (CCC264.1), Assault (CCC265 and 266) are all new statutes that potentially apply to bullies. These principles apply to both schoolyard and corporate bullying.


Argentina:

Argentina's congress passed a bill in 2013 aimed at reducing incidents of physical violence, as well as verbal and psychological abuse, among students in schools. Rather than simply warning bullies about their behavior, this law requires them to face consequences. Victims who are hesitant to report the issue at school can call a toll-free hotline set up by the country. Employers must also provide a safe working environment for their employees, which includes preventing and safeguarding them from physical and psychological harm caused by discrimination. The company could be held accountable not just for failing to safeguard an employee, but also for any damages incurred as a result of discrimination.

South Africa:

South Africa has enacted legislation to prevent cyberbullying, mandating ISPs to send over the contact information of anyone detected harassing another. Without their parents' knowledge, children under the age of 18 can approach the courts. There's also the Children's Act, which aims to defend and protect children's rights and interests, among other things. In addition, there is the Schools Act, which mandates schools to adopt a code of conduct in cases of bullying.

While many countries have adopted several policies and laws to prevent bullying, more action can be taken. Implementation and ensuring that the laws are being followed is just as important as creating these laws. It is up to us to stay vigilant and always keep the three R’s of bullying prevention in mind- Recognize, Respond and Report.


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