As a follow up to my previous posts on bullying, an article from The New Zealand Herald not just caught my attention but also left me applauding the Australian lawmakers for standing up and making bullying a crime after what is now happening not just in school but also in cyberspace and workplaces. As a blogger, I believe Australia deserves a pat on the back for recognising how destructive bullying is as well as criminalising it to show that they mean business to all bullies out there (I might be wrong but let’s hope the new amendments on stalking and the inclusion of cyberbullying and workplace bullying as crimes will walk the walk with the anti-bullying stance).
Perhaps the late Brodie Panlock would have been extremely proud to see that bullying in Australia is finally a crime. But it is very sad that she will never get to see justice being meted out against Nicholas Smallwood, Rhys MacAlpine, Gabriel Toomey and Marc Da Cruz who made her life hell before she died. Although Brodie’s law is finally now in place for all bully victims, past and present, as well as tackling the issue of workplace bullying, it will not bring Brodie back but at least workplace bullying is finally getting known out there rather than something swept under the rug. Secondly, I believe all countries should have laws against bullying just like Australia.
However, what I read from another article, although I half-agree that courts cannot catch every single workplace bully, I believe that workplace bullying is as detrimental as bullying in school or cyberspace. It is true that workplace bullying is very costly to both companies and workers’ health and well being. However, other than slapping workplace bullies with fines and paying compensations to workplace bully victims, I think it is just not enough. Workplace bullies should not only be fined but also it should be mandatory for them to undergo counselling and therapy and, depending on the severity of their bullying on their fellow colleagues, perhaps a permanent black mark in their employment history/records (Call it harsh but having a black mark in an employment record for a workplace bully shows that he or she has been very stupid enough to throw away his or her life over something so immature and unacceptable).
Using the law alone is not enough to deter bullying in all levels. I believe it is every parent’s, teacher’s and an adult’s responsibility to teach our children that bullying is wrong, regardless whether one is a student or a grown-up at a workplace. Or let alone in a typical schoolyard or in cyberspace. Last but not least, all schools should walk the walk with the whole anti-bullying policy rather than sweep it all under the rug and allow bullying to continue just like what Casey Heynes went through for too long before he became well known to us around the world as the bully victim who finally had enough.
What says you about Australia making bullying a crime? Do you believe your country should have anti-bullying laws like Australia? What would you like to see is done to tackle bullying in schools and the workplace? Opinions are welcomed.