Executive Summary

In 2008, New Zealand (NZ) led the world in bullying with roughly three quarters of primary school children reporting being bullied a month, ranking NZ 34th of 35 countries in a major international study (n.d., “NZ schools lead world in bullying,” 2008). Recent research indicates that over 30% of NZ students have been bullied at some time and that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) youth suffer disproportionately. Indeed, GLBT persons in NZ are highly vulnerable to bullying (Henrickson, 2008).  As recently as May 30, 2012, the NZ Herald reported an incident of gay bashing where a teen was assaulted based on perceptions of his sexual orientation (Wade, 2012). The incident was widely condemned, even by the US Ambassador to New Zealand (n.d., “US ambassador blasts gay attack”, 2012).

This policy report focuses on the problem of GLBT youth bullying, discusses the ramifications of unchecked bullying on GLBT youth development, reviews existing anti-bullying policy and ultimately makes recommendations to address this problem. The report discusses the situation of GLBT bullying at present and applies appropriate analytical frameworks to substantiate policy recommendations. The report reveals that, while initiatives aimed at eradicating bullying apply to all people, GLBT youth as a sub-group require unique, while complementary, intervention strategies to overcome bullying in their environment.

Key Recommendations from this report include:

  • Full implementation of Ombudsman David McGee’s recommendations to address bullying in NZ schools.
  • Compulsory inclusion of GLBT youth and cyber bullying specifically in school based anti-bullying policy requirements.
  • Development of a public/private partnership supporting a social marketing campaign focused on eliminating GLBT bullying in society at large.

Remember always that you not only have the right to be an individual, you have an obligation to be one.
– Eleanor Roosevelt

It is our choices … that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.
– J. K. Rowling

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