67% of children in Ukraine aged 11-17 faced bullying in the past three months. 24% of children were victims of bullying, and 48 % of these victims did not tell anyone about the incidents.

These are the results of a research conducted for UNICEF earlier this year. These are alarming figures, particularly at a time when Ukraine is going through a conflict, which has left almost 1.6 million people internally displaced (IDPs), including 220,000 children. The research clearly shows that children perceived as shy, and children from low-income families, are twice as likely to be bullied.

In addition, IDP children are more likely to have been exposed to various forms of conflict-related violence. This impacts on their social behaviour. Economic hardship also indirectly puts them at greater bullying risk, and threatens their integration. The UNICEF campaign will improve knowledge of bullying, and its negative consequences for both children and adults. This will help change behaviour, and reduce the tolerance of violence.

The core of the campaign is the web site www.stopbullying.com.ua where both schoolchildren and parents can access information about bullying, its consequences, and possible actions to address the problem. “Children are often not equipped to solve certain problems on their own. Bullying is not an exception. For parents to be able to prevent or respond to the bullying their child facing, they need to communicate with their children, be attentive and supportive to them.” – noted Giovanna Barberis, UNICEF Representative in Ukraine.

The web site informs children about bullying in an age-appropriate and interactive manner. It suggests alternative behaviours to bullying such as skating, blogging and djing. In addition, promotion posters and stickers for children will be disseminated. Interactive events are also planned for September – October 2017 in the five regions of eastern Ukraine. The web platform also provides important information about signs of bullying, prevention, together with response measures to parents and teachers.