Physical appearance is the most common reason for being bullied, the World Anti-Bullying Forum has been told.
The event, which was held in Dublin City University (DCU) this week, saw the largest ever gathering of experts, policy makers, educators and parents coming together to discuss the best ways of tackling bullying.
Almost 1,000 participants attended and the event was organised by the National Anti-Bullying Research and Resource Centre at DCU. According to its director, James O'Higgins Norman, ‘identity-based bullying' remains a major issue.
"Irish and international research reveals that physical appearance is the most common reason for being bullied, with race, nationality and skin colour the second most common reason.
"As Ireland welcomes more migrants and people of different ethnicities, we need to double our efforts to ensure that our schools continue to be models of best practice when it comes to tackling identity-based bullying," he commented.
Meanwhile, according to DCU president, Prof Brian McCraith, bullying remains one of society's ‘most challenging and complex issues'.
"The decision to choose DCU as the venue for this conference is a strong endorsement of the excellent work being conducted by the National Anti-Bullying Research and Resource Centre, in terms of the practical and policy solutions they have developed in recent years," he insisted.
The event was organised in partnership with FRIENDS, the International Bullying Prevention Association and UNESCO and speakers included the Ombudsman for Children, Dr Niall Muldoon and the UNICEF deputy executive director, Charlotte Petri Gornitzka.
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