Cyberbullying and the Law

This research project highlighted a previously unreported level of frustration on the part of school leaders in both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland in their struggle to deal with the growing and very complex problem of cyberbullying, especially in the absence of clear and up-to-date guidance from respective government departments.  Confusion surrounding the legal responsibilities of schools is common in both jurisdictions.  Rather than relying on evidence-based strategies and procedures proposed by government, school leaders are resorting to ad hoc solutions, at best consulting neighbouring schools, while trying to unravel intricate webs of interpersonal online aggressive acts, many of which have taken place outside of school and outside of school hours. 

The report makes a number of recommendations in relation to the development and dissemination of training and resources for schools in both jurisdictions, but concludes with an urgent call on government to provide the legal and policy framework which will guide school leaders out of the “cloud of uncertainty” and towards clarity of understanding and effective responses to cyberbullying in schools throughout Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

Cyberbullying and the Law Report