04 December, 2017 - Minister Mary Mitchell O’Connor launches European project to tackle bullying of those with special educational needs and disabilities

International studies related to bullying of those with Special Educational Needs (SEN) and disabilities (SEND), more commonly known as disablist bullying, have consistently revealed higher rates of incidence, with SEN/SEND individuals likely to be bullied two-three times as much as their non-SEND counterparts.

To address this issue, the National Anti-Bullying Research and Resource Centre at Dublin City University will lead a new two-year European project called DisAbuse which will address the issue of disablist bullying by identifying suitable prevention and counter strategies. The project has been financed by the Higher Education Authority and the EU Erasmus+ Programme.

To coincide with International Day of People with Disabilities, the DisAbuse project will be formally launched on Monday 4th of December by Ms Mary Mitchell O’Connor TD, Minister for Higher Education.

“All forms of bullying are unacceptable and can have devastating impact on peoples’ lives. The research that takes place under Dr. O’Higgins Norman at the National Anti-Bullying Centre at DCU is providing essential insights into the causes and effects of different types of bullying. This important work will undoubtedly bring a deeper understanding to the area and will help us to support people who experience such bullying. I am honoured to open this seminar on disablist bullying and launch the DisAbuse Project and wish both ventures well”

The project’s first international seminar will also take place on that day to address the issue of disablist bullying in our community and to highlight the necessity for practical action to help prevent it and improve socialisation. International project partners, local SEN/SEND community members, practitioners, educators, researchers, policy makers and others school and work communities were in attendance.

Speaking about the project, Dr James O'Higgins Norman, Director of the National Anti-Bullying Research and Resource Centre at DCU, said:

“The partners will co-operate to evaluate and combine research, best practice and modern pedagogical approaches (eLearning, partner learning, and peer learning) with widely used technological means. Our aims being to create a timely and ongoing support module that will be available to both SEN/SEND learners, and those who seek to educate or work with them. The module will aim to improve socialisation, reduce marginalisation and ease user’s lives in school and their migration into adulthood and the working world, to allow them to enjoy fully rounded lives and contribute more widely to society. It will also support and educate, teachers and trainers in promoting equity, diversity, and inclusion in learning through educational institutions and wider society, via more in-depth understanding and work with SEN/SEND individuals, and the provision of training/educational materials.”

The project’s European partners include the ABC, Dublin City University, Ireland; Fondazione Mondo Digitale, Italy; ICSTE-IUL, Instituto Universitário de Lisboa, Portugal; IADT-The Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology, Ireland; UM-The University of Murcia, Spain.

For further information about the project visit https://www4.dcu.ie/abc/index.shtml