Bullying among young people on the rise
Bullying, psychological problems and cases of violence were the top themes in the child and youth advocacy in 2022. This shows the annual balance sheet. In total, there were quickly 3,000 inquiries. Therefore, there is an urgent need for a contact point for bullying offers.
Most of those affected are in the 11 to 14 age group, and most of them are girls. Bullying – both at school and on the Internet – is a long-running issue in counseling, says Salzburg’s child and youth advocate Andrea Holz-Dahrenstaedt.
In 2022, 435 children and young people sought help because of such problems. That is three times as many as in the CoV years – Holz-Dahrenstaedt describes this, although the problems also existed during this time. “There were school closures due to CoV and therefore fewer workshops in schools. These in particular are a kind of door opener, where many affected young people then turn to us with a specific, relevant problem.”
“Independent expert would be necessary”
When you have a problem like this, you need help fast. The Salzburg child and youth advocate is therefore once again calling for a contact point for children and young people who suffer from bullying.
“There is social work in schools, but not in all schools, and this offer is not available everywhere. School psychology only comes into play when the school demands it. We see a gap in the system insofar as we believe it needs someone who is independent and not involved in the system. And so an expert would certainly be well positioned in the child and youth ombudsman’s office,” says Holz-Dahrenstaedt.
“No longer allocate free therapy places”
Psychosocial care for children and young people in the state should be improved overall. This also includes free therapy places not being allocated quotas, Holz-Dahrenstaedt demands.