Byline: Refeloe Letsoisa

22 May 2023

The South African Police Service (SAPS) established a Women’s Network for an active role in championing service delivery and social crime prevention.

Members of the women’s Network who are Police Officers as well as civilian employees function as champions at various levels of governance: Station, Provincial and National protection level for campaigns according to the calendar of events like child week, safer schools, gender-based violence, sexual offences, Anti-bullying campaigns including social crime prevention programmes that are aimed at reducing contact crimes and involved in social responsibilities at schools and in the community they serve.

On Friday, 19 May 2023, Bethal SAPS team comprising the Women’s Network, Men for Change, in partnership with other stakeholders including the Department of Education and Thomas-Heights Ambassadors held an Anti-bullying campaign incorporated with child protection week with the aim of educating and sensitizing learners about the dangers of bullying at Milan Park Hall in Bethal.

“Bullying is a major and serious health issue and the side-effects are immediate and long-lasting. In the most disastrous of cases, bullying has had devastating consequences.

Children and adolescents who are involved in bullying put themselves at risk for a number of emotional and behavioural problems at all times and need support to learn how to develop healthy relationships at school and at home,” said Sergeant Thomas Mogadime, the communications and social crime prevention officer.

Sgt. Mogadime further stated that the purpose of the campaign was to create awareness about bullying and to celebrate child protection week. 

During the campaign, learners were educated about the different types of bullying, namely; physical bullying (hitting and kicking); verbal bullying (name calling, insulting and racist remarks); emotional/psychological bullying (excluding someone from a social group and spreading rumours); and online bullying (use of the internet and related technologies to harm other people).

Bullying has serious negative impacts on one’s health, both short-term and long-term and it has resulted into fatalities in the worst of circumstances.

It puts children and adolescents at risk of a variety of emotional and behavioural issues, both now and in the future, and they need assistance learning how to form healthy connections at home and at school.

Learners were further sensitized to the crimes against children, dangers of not reporting crime to the police, child trafficking, children’s rights and responsibilities and how to report crime to the police.

All schools in attendance were requested to implement the Anti-bullying team which will be responsible for helping police to curb bullying in schools. 

Following the presentations from the various stakeholders, 100 “stop bullying” bibs were handed-out to students with the effort to increase bullying awareness in schools.