More bullying victims turning to police to file criminal charges
Aug. 19, 2012 – TOKYO —
Police have been called in to take action in 11 cases of bullying nationwide in the past month, according to the National Police Agency.
The filing of criminal charges by bullying victims is believed to be the result of a high-profile case in Otsu, Shiga Prefecture, in which three bullies were blamed for the suicide of a 13-year-old boy last October. More victims have started to speak out against their tormentors now that bullying has become a national talking point.
Public broadcaster NHK reported that in the past month, police were consulted on bullying that included victims suffering broken bones and cases in which photos and video of acts of violence were posted online.
In the most recent case, a junior high school boy in Tokyo filed criminal charges against his classmates after he sustained broken ribs in a bullying incident. In other cases, a high school boy in Sendai sustained 20 cigarette burns to his arms, and a junior high school boy reportedly took a video of himself bullying a primary school boy in Hyogo and uploaded it to the Internet. The video was viewed around 180,000 times, NHK reported.
Last month, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology announced plans to conduct a nationwide survey of all public elementary and junior high schools in an attempt to ascertain the prevalence and nature of bullying in the nation’s public schools.
On Aug 2, the ministry also launched a taskforce dedicated to supporting schools as part of its drive to stamp out bullying.
The taskforce consists of staff from departments currently dealing with bullying, national educational policy researchers and experts from the National Police Agency.