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How do schools use peer support?

An Italian study looked at the effect a befriending scheme had on bullying in 2 schools. In the scheme bullies and bystanders were encouraged to take responsibility for their actions. It was found that the befriending scheme did make a difference. The classes taking part in the scheme reported that there had been no increase in bullying, while classes not taking part reported an increase. The indifference of bystanders is increasingly seen as something which encourages bullying. This scheme was found to make bystanders more responsible and less indifferent. It was also found that children's feelings of sympathy for the victim (which often decrease at this age) stayed the same or increased.
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Article details

E Menesini, E Codecasa, B Benelli and H Cowie (2001)'Enhancing Children's Responsibility to take Action Against Bullying: evaluation of a befriending intervention in Italian middle schools', article in 'Peer Support Networker', Issue 16, Spring. Available from the Peer Support Network.
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