In Italy, one in two children are affected by bullying. The age at risk is between 11 and 17 years old. The Istat data place the emphasis on a very delicate and growing phenomenon concerning adolescents. Addressing and preventing the risk of violent behavior is also the road traveled by Accredia, UNI, FIDAE, ISRE and MOIGE that on September 18 presented in Milan the Reference Practice UNI/PdR 42:2018 “Preventing and combating bullying”, born from the collaboration of the work table wanted by the Accreditation Body.
Available both in italian and english, this document is also applicable at international level. It identifies criteria for preventing and combating bullying, through the application of an anti-bullying management system by all educational institutions such as schools, training centers, day centers, boarding schools, youth centers, sports and recreational centers and therefore all structures attended by minors.
“For the first time a school, where it demonstrates compliance with the requirements of this Practice, can obtain certification from an accredited body according to the UNI CEI EN ISO/IEC 17021-1 standard – explains Giuseppe Rossi, President of Accredia. In this context, the phases of training and growth of the new generations are placed, to which we all pay attention to guarantee the serenity and safety of our children. Hence our commitment in the analysis of the causes of the phenomenon of bullying and in the study of the tools to combate it and eliminate it: it is in this that the technique is dressed in humanity “.
An absolute innovation in the panorama of certifications in Italy and in the world, the Practice offers to schools and organizations attended by minors, a tool to obtain the “anti-bullying certification” issued by an accredited body. These structures will have to adopt and publish a document in which they commit themselves to define and activate all the measures of prevention and combating of bullying foreseen by the Practice and laws, illustrating objectives, policies and strategies to follow.
“Italy is the first country in the world that has developed a certification process under accreditation for such phenomena – says Rossi – and that’s why our Body wanted the translation of the Reference Practice into english, so that other Countries that have already expressed interest can follow the same experience.”
According to the Practice, each school must define the actions it plans to activate to improve the prevention and combating of bullying. The plan, implemented during the first weeks of the school year, must include measurable objectives such as: number and outcome of legal actions brought by families against the school or its employees for bullying events, number of complaints due to bullying, percentage of positive responses to anti-bullying questionnaires, percentage of participation in voluntary anti-bullying sensitization activities.
“Although it was implemented and developed as a technical activity to support the efficiency and effectiveness of companies – says Piero Torretta, President of UNI – the evolution over time of the areas of interest of UNI standardization today see the person as midpoint of its interest and activity, and the process/product/service is only an element at the basis of its need, its well-being and life quality”.
Furthermore, the organization interested in being certified must include in its website a section called prevention and combating of bullying with:
Moreover, it is necessary to draft a specific anti-bullying regulation that indicates the forbidden behaviors and the related disciplinary sanctions, and to collect systematically and continuously the reports on bullying events. It is also necessary to develop every year a plan for the training and awareness in the matter of bullying, and periodically undergo both scheduled and surprise audits, able to identify any critical situations and the state of implementation of the measures taken.
“The UNI/PdR 42:2018 has been formulated to be a tool to all operators of the educational world and other realities involving education and handling of minors – explains Emanuele Montemerano, President of the Compliance Body of Accredia, who actively participated in the drafting of the Practice -. Even the world of law, however, is particularly interested in the innovation represented by this Practice – he concludes – since the criminal and civil litigation related to bullying is constantly increasing and the rules contained in the Practice will certainly be taken into consideration also in court purposes of ascertaining responsibility for acts of bullying and cyberbullying”.