Elle Roseby Bullying. So Not OK. Interview
Despite the ubiquity of social media and prevalence of young people who are victimised using technology, students aged 12 to 18 years are also being bullied in person and in the school yard.
The study of over 20,000 Australian students revealed that gender plays a major role in the different types of bullying behaviour. Girls are being bullied more often than boys and suffer online with tattle tales and disconnection from group chats, while in the classroom it is much more secretive with note passing most common.
In order to empower girls around the world, Australian youth fashion brand Supré has launched a global philanthropic platform, the Supré Foundation, an initiative that spans three countries and three causes.
The Foundation's first local initiative is the launch of Bullying. So Not Ok, a campaign fronted by actress Lilly Van der Meer who has experienced the issue first hand. In conjunction with headspace and the Telethon Kids Institute, the project takes a stand against school bullying behaviour through education and support measures.
The partnership has produced a Bullying Education and Prevention Resource Kit which is now available to schools across the country, as well as the delivery of free Bullying. So Not Ok. booklets throughout Supré stores and headspace centres nationally.
General Manager at Supré, Elle Roseby said 'As a brand, Supré talks to girls from 13 years of age, upwards and 98 per cent of our team is female. We are connected to girls, we are surrounded by girls and we have a deep commitment to supporting girls. If we can help even one girl, providing her with the support to deal effectively with bullying behaviour, then we're on our way to achieving our vision.
'The initiative was instigated when we asked our team and customers, where they need our help. Overwhelmingly she told us one thing - mental health, specifically bullying," added Ms Roseby.
Based on bullying prevention research conducted by Professor Donna Cross and Telethon Kids Institute researchers, the program was piloted in five schools in Western Australia with positive results to date. 'Bullying, is a significant predictor of mental health problems; it can cause social isolation, reduce school performance and lead to higher rates of anxiety and depression down the track.
'Effective school based programs can reduce bullying by at least 20 per cent. All Australian schools should add this important resource to their whole-school effort to prevent bullying behaviour, because everyone has the right to feel safe and respected," said Professor Cross.
The school kit, which is designed to be delivered by headspace workers into schools, offers social and emotional learning, enabling students to develop the skills and confidence to appropriately respond to bullying.
Supré went one step further and commissioned an adapted version of the resource; a pocket-sized anti-bullying booklet to open up dialogue that bullying is not okay. Supré will distribute in excess of 100,000 copies of the Bullying. So Not OK. booklets from 27 March.
As the Foundation's local ambassador, Lilly Van der Meer will meet young girls in store at Supré Melbourne Central on Saturday, 1 April to handout Bullying So Not Ok booklets and share her words of empowerment and support through a digital and social installation on site.
'Bullying is an issue that is close so my heart and I want to make sure girls know they are not alone and there is help out there," she said.
The Bullying. So Not OK. booklet will also be available for download at supre.com.au, headspace.org.au and telethonkids.org.au.
While a global initiative, Supré Foundation will take a local approach within each of its operating markets (Australia, New Zealand and South Africa) and will deliver three unique projects all with the aim of empowering girls.
Interview with Elle Roseby
Question: Why did Supré Foundation, together with headspace and the Telethon Kids Institute join together for this anti-bullying awareness campaign?
Elle Roseby: Every day at Supré, we talk to girls from 13 years old and up, and our workforce is 98 percent female. We are surrounded by girls and committed to supporting them through the Supré Foundation.
We know that bullying impacts our girl. In fact, when we asked our store teams and customers where support was most needed, they told us bullying was an issue that needed tackling. This only verifies research that one in four young people are bullied regularly.
So naturally, we were drawn to headspace and the Bullying So Not Ok program was born.
Through this partnership we've joined forces with some incredible experts and passionate people; Telethon Kids Institute and Australia's leading expert on bullying, Professor Donna Cross to develop an in school and community resource to combat the issue of bullying.
Question: What inspired the Bullying So Not OK campaign?
Elle Roseby: We started by asking our largely female team, and our customers, where do girls most need our help? Overwhelmingly she told us one thing - mental health, specifically bullying.
As a brand that is surrounded by girls, we have great insight into the concerns, needs and dreams of young women. Our team members revealed that most had been a victim of bullying and even more knew someone who had been affected by it.
We also know bullying, is a significant predictor of mental health problems; it can cause social isolation, reduce school performance and lead to higher rates of anxiety and depression down the track. We want our girl to know that bullying, in any form, is so not ok.
Question: How do you hope to foster positive change and create a supportive world where girls are lauded?
Elle Roseby: Supré Foundation has one purpose; to foster a supportive environment where all girls can achieve their dreams. In each country that we operate in (Australia, New Zealand and South Africa) we work with local partners to deliver on that vision.
Through the Bullying So Not Ok initiative with headspace, we aim to educate and empower girls to be assertive against bullying behavior.
At Supré we believe in the power of girls, because girls are strong, beautiful, smart and they're our future. If we can help even one girl avoid bullying behavior, then we are on track to achieving our vision.
Question: Can you tell us about the Bullying So Not OK booklet?
Elle Roseby: Based on bullying prevention research conducted by Professor Donna Cross and Telethon Kids Institute researcher, the bullying prevention school program was developed. We went one step further and commissioned an adapted version of the resource; a pocket-sized anti-bullying booklet to open up dialogue that bullying is not ok.
The Bullying So Not Ok booklet will help young people understand, identify and cope with bullying, while addressing topics such as self esteem, cyber bullying and supporting friends who may be experiencing bullying behaviour.
It offers social and emotional learning, enabling students to develop the skills and confidence to appropriately respond to bullying.
These booklets will act as a friendly tool for girls, a resource and reminder on how to combat bullying. We have committed to delivering 100,000 copies for free across Supré stores and headspace centres nationally.
Question: What should a student do if they see bullying happening, in the schoolyard?
Elle Roseby: Section one, part two: All about bullying (page 27) gives advice on what someone can do if they witness bullying.
If you see someone being bullied:
Let the person bullying know what they are doing is bullying and that it is wrong.
Refuse to join in with their bullying and walk away.
Ask a teacher or support person for help.
There are also actions you can take after you see bullying to support the person being bullied:
Encourage the person being bullied to talk to a trusted adult – This may be a teacher or a parent.
Encourage the person being bullied to talk to you about what is happening.
Offer to speak to an adult on behalf of the person being bullied.
Let the students bullying know that you know what is going on.
Ask the person being bullied to come and sit with your friendship group so they feel supported.
Question: How does this campaign address the issue of schoolyard bullying?
Elle Roseby: We know that effective school based programs can reduce incidences of bullying, by at least 20 per cent. Bullying, although sadly common, is a complex issue that needs to be dealt with sensitively. The program offers social and emotional learning, enabling students to develop the skills and confidence to appropriately respond to bullying – whether it is happening to them or their peers.
The purpose is to educate, ignite conversation around the issue and ultimately stamp out bullying. Designed to be delivered by headspace workers into schools, we believe the Bullying Education and Prevention and Resource kit has the power to create change.
It's our hope that this resource will be delivered in as many schools as possible.
Interview by Brooke Hunter