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Bullies, Bullied and Bystanders

Keynote Speakers

The conference will bring together some of the world’s leading scholars in aggression and bullying studies

Professor Mona O’Moore, Dublin City University, Ireland

Professor Mona O'Moore is Fellow Emeritus of Trinity College Dublin and Adjunct Professor to the School of Education Studies at Dublin City University. She is also the Founding Director of the of the National Anti-Bullying Research and Research Centre, formerly of Trinity College Dublin but now located within the School of Education Studies, Dublin City University. Former Professor and Head of School of Education in Trinity College Dublin she is a Graduate of Trinity College Dublin and gained an M.A. (Child and Educational Psychology) from University of Nottingham and a Ph.D. (Psychology) from University of Edinburgh. She has written widely on the subject of bullying including: Dealing with Bullying in Schools: A training Manual for Teachers, Parents and other Professionals (Sage Publications Ltd, 2004), School Bullying: A Guide of Parents and Teachers (Veritas, 2010), Bullying in Irish Education: Perspectives in Research and Practice (Cork University Press, 2013) and Understanding Cyberbullying: A Guide for Parents and Teachers.

Dr. James O’Higgins Norman, Director of the Anti Bullying Centre, Dublin City University

Dr James O’Higgins Norman is a Senior Lecturer and Researcher in DCU Institute of Education where he is Director of the National Anti-Bullying Research and Resource Centre. James’ research is rooted in a sociological view of education and is concerned with the relationship between wellbeing, equality and human rights. His research has been presented at conferences in Ireland, the UK, Australia, Italy, Finland and the USA and has been published in a number of international peer reviewed journals. Dr O’Higgins Norman’s research in the area of school bullying and violence has been recognised by government departments, policy makers and educational leaders and has led to a national campaign aimed at addressing bullying in schools.

Professor Christiane Spiel, University of Vienna

Violence prevention at school: Lessons Learned for Policy Impact from Research and Interventions

Evidence in policy and practice is so far not sufficiently established. In particular, this is the case in the field of education. Many findings from educational and developmental psychology and related disciplines which have the potential to support policy makers are overlooked. This presentation discusses reasons for poor transfer of policy to practice and describes the Austrian national strategy for violence prevention at school as an example how research can be successfully linked to policy and practice. In formulating the strategy a systematic procedure involving international experts and local stakeholders was applied. The strategy consists of six activity domains and the steps necessary for implementation. Challenges and results in implementing the national strategy are presented and llessons learned for implementing intervention research into public policy are discussed. Based on our experiences, we argue for a systematic integration of intervention and implementation research. For realizing this systematic connection a six-step procedure is proposed.

Professor Christina Salmivalli, University of Turku, Finland

The role of bystanders in bullying: What can we learn from intervention studies?

KiVa anti-bullying program, developed at the University of Turku, puts concerted emphasis on influencing the bystanders, empowering them to support the victimized peers instead of rewarding the bullies. During the randomized controlled trial of KiVa among fourth-to-sixth-grade students (Saarento et al., 2014), we found that changes in bystander responses to bullying indeed mediated program effects on bullying perpetration. Another important mediator was the students’ changing perception of how their teachers felt about bullying. The findings have important theoretical and practical implications that will be discussed.

Professor Peter K.Smith, Goldsmith College London

Investigating and understanding cross-national differences in bullying

After reviewing the history of growing international cooperation, I will explore research on comparing the prevalence and nature of bullying in different countries. How similar is the phenomenon of bullying in different countries? Some cross-national comparisons, for example between Japan and England, suggest differences in types of bullying, who does the bullying, and where it occurs. Also some large cross-national surveys, notably EU Kids Online, TIMSS, GSHS and HBSC, have yielded substantial prevalence differences in bullying rates between countries. However there are many difficulties in understanding and explaining the differences found. I will discuss a number of relevant issues, including procedural issues (sampling, questionnaire design, definitions of bullying), linguistic issues (e.g. terms for ‘bullying’ in different countries and the use of the cartoon test); educational variables (e.g. school structure, anti-bullying interventions), and country characteristics (e.g. Hofstede categories).

Professor Sheri Bauman, University of Arizona, USA


Sexting refers to the sharing of sexual images or sexual messages using mobile phones or the Internet. It is a relatively recent behaviour made possible by the widespread availability of digital technology. Sexting intersects with cyberbullying when the images are shared without the consent of the creator of the image in order to embarrass or humiliate the creator. Motives for doing so include anger, revenge, attention-seeking, and bragging. Some tragic outcomes of this form of victimization have been covered by the popular media; efforts to educate youth about the dangers of this practice are needed. In addition, it is important to know how to be helpful to those who have been victimized. This presentation will provide some data on the prevalence of sexting; the apps and sites used my youth for this purpose. Some legal implications will be mentioned, although these vary widely in different locations. Information about strategies youth might use to avoid sexting, particularly in response to coercion from others will be reviewed. The main focus will be on how to use and overcome the challenges for using Cognitive Behavioural Therapy with victims of cyberbullying via sexting, and helping them come up with options to respond. There will also be recommendations for treatment goals for working with perpetrators.

Professor Erling Roland, University of Stavanger,Norway

Unresolved Bullying

Emerging evidence from the Norwegian Stigma-project indicates that many bullying cases in Norway and Ireland remain unresolved, and that they grew old and damaging for the key pupils, parents, school and even the community. The presentation will illustrate this process by data from interviews with pupils, parents and school personnel. This information provides a background for presenting a model, which links three key elements in a bullying case; warnings of bullying, school’s investigations and interventions. Finally, we use this model to discuss why some bullying cases are solved effectively and why some grew old and destructive.

Professor Debra Pepler, York University,Canada

Mobilizing Canada to Promote Healthy Relationships and Prevent Bullying among Children and Youth

Since our research program on bullying began in the late 80s, we have been frequently called upon to mobilize research knowledge about bullying problems and solutions. Despite recognition that bullying is a critical relationship problem, Canada has ranked poorly on the prevalence of bullying. For the last 10 years, we have been working with national youth-serving organizations through PREVNet (Promoting Relationships and Eliminating Violence Network). The basic tenet of PREVNet is that the healthy development of children and youth depends on healthy relationships in the family, school, peer group, and community. Therefore, promoting relationships is essential to achieving our vision of eliminating bullying and other forms of violence. In this presentation, I will describe our efforts mobilize research knowledge to bring about social change related to bullying and healthy relationships in Canada.

Speakers and Abstracts

Click here to view the list of abstracts

Papers are also invited from those who are undertaking research that seeks to reconceptualise or present new theoretical or empirical research perspectives that build on existing research on bullying, especially those that focus on cultural and ethnic differences in bullying and/or the role of bystanders in online and offline environments.