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On International Youth Day, a new poll highlights prevalence of bullying and its devastating impact on young people

In a recent U-Report poll young people were asked via SMS, Facebook and Twitter, a series of questions relating to the impact of bullying in their community, their own personal experiences of bullying and what they think can be done to end this type of violence. More than 100,000 U-Reporters, recruited by partners such as the Scouts and Girl Guides, with an estimated age of 13-30, participated in the poll including young people from Chile, Ireland, Liberia, Malaysia, Mexico, Mozambique, Nigeria, Pakistan, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Swaziland, Uganda, and Ukraine through the Global U-Report channel.

More than nine out of 10 young people believe bullying is a pervasive problem in their communities, and two-thirds say they have experienced bullying first hand.

That statistic is consistent with Ukrainian national results. Half of all poll participants in Ukraine have experienced bullying personally, 76% indicating that it happened because of the way they look. In Ukraine, the likelihood of being bullied is spread relatively evenly among all age groups, dropping slightly at age 15-19, and rising again at age 20 [1]. Furthermore, males are slightly over ten percent more likely to have been bullied.

Almost 40% of Ukrainian respondents that are bullied tell no one about what happened. If they do, it is likely either their parents/relatives (27% of the time), or a friend/sibling (25% of the time). Only 4% inform teachers that were bullied. Ukrainians see a correlation with adult reaction and the worsening or betterment of the issue; the most popular answer to the question, ‘why is bullying happening?’ was ‘because adults ignore it,’ at 37%. In addition, over half of respondents say that we need to train teachers to end bullying; seven out of ten incidences of bullying happen face to face at school.

"Bullying in schools is an endemic problem throughout Ukraine regardless of the levels of impact of or proximity to the conflict. Following the launch of the U-report in Ukraine, youth seized the opportunity to voice their concerns and, with regards to violence in schools they have spoken loud and clear,” said Giovanna Barberis, UNICEF Representative in Ukraine, encouraging young people to be vocal and act for social change.

UNICEF works to engage children and adolescents on the impact of bullying as part of its global End Violence Against Children initiative including through the U-Report platform and through global social media campaigns (#ENDViolence.) UNICEF, together with its partners, also works to strengthen education systems in schools and establish strong referral systems for child welfare.

U-Report is a social messaging tool available in 24 countries with a subscriber base of over two million young people. It is a system of public opinion polls through free SMS and Twitter. Young people join the project via sending a free SMS ‘START’ to short code 4224, and weekly answer short polls. With the help of U-Report, UNICEF and partners analyze social issues that matter to youth, and use the polls’ results to influence the development of social policies. Ukraine was the first one in Europe to launch the project. U-Reporters also receive the results and are sent information and advice from UNICEF, our partners and U-Reporters themselves: https://ukraine.ureport.in/

About UNICEF: UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.

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[1] In 1985, the UN celebrated the first International Year of Youth launched on August 12- International Youth Day. Today, International Youth Day draws attention to a range of cultural and legal challenges related to young people. It provides a forum to discuss how to strengthen national capacity in youth focused areas and to increase opportunities available to young people for full, effective and constructive participation in society.

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