One year on from the introduction of Brodie’s Law, Attorney-General Robert Clark has today launched a campaign urging Victorians to take a stand against bullying.
The ‘Take a stand against bullying’ campaign will see information about bullying and Brodie’s Law distributed to more than 8,000 schools, workplaces and police stations across Victoria.
The campaign is being undertaken by the Department of Justice in conjunction with VECCI, Victoria Police, and Lifeline.
Speaking at Lifeline headquarters in Melbourne, Mr Clark said that the campaign is about reminding people that bullying can have devastating consequences and that help and support are available to assist anyone experiencing serious bullying.
“Everyone is entitled to be safe in our community and no one should be forced to suffer from bullying,” Mr Clark said.
“Authorities rely on information from the community to stamp out bullying, so if you or someone you know is being bullied, report it.
“All bullying is unacceptable, and serious bullying is a serious crime.”
Brodie’s Law made serious bullying a criminal offence punishable by up to 10 years in jail. It became law in Victoria in June last year.
“Having Brodie’s Law in place is about sending a strong message that threatening, bullying behavior – in the workplace or elsewhere – will not be tolerated,” Mr Clark said.
Bullying can be committed by people of different ages, in a variety of ways and in a variety of situations including workplaces, schools, sports clubs, shopping centres and increasingly, via the internet.
Brodie’s Law was introduced after the tragic suicide of a young Victorian woman, Brodie Panlock, who was subjected to ongoing serious bullying in her workplace.
Brodie’s parents, Damian and Rae Panlock said they were proud to support this campaign and all efforts to combat the scourge of bullying.
“Having experienced the devastation that results from merciless bullying, we are passionate about stamping out bullying, whether it be in the workplace, the school yard or anywhere else,” Mr and Mrs Panlock said.
“We don’t want any family to endure what we have been through which is why we are committed to all efforts to raise awareness about the very serious nature of bullying and its consequences.
“It is our hope that the thousands of posters and pamphlets that will be distributed through this campaign will inspire anyone who is a victim of bullying or has witnessed bullying behavior, to report it.”
Evelyn Field, a psychologist with extensive experience in dealing with school and workplace bullying, said that this campaign is just the beginning in developing community awareness about creating bully free schools and workplaces.
“I look forward to seeing more progress being made in this area,” Ms Field said.
Victorian Employers’ Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VECCI) Chief Executive Mark Stone said bullying should not be condoned in any workplace.
“We encourage employers to embrace the ‘Take a stand against bullying’ campaign to ensure a positive environment is maintained in workplaces at all times.”