"Canada not such a nice place to grow up?" - The WHO ranks Canada in the
bottom third of developing countries when it comes to bullying!

International & Canadian Experts Available for Interviews

TORONTO, May 26 /CNW/ -

    May 27th and 28th leading Canadian and International experts will gather
    in Hamilton, Ontario at McMaster University, to understand why and
    discuss next steps in violence prevention, including: world leading
    Canadian research on neuroscience, mental health, interpersonal
    relationships, and anti-bullying strategies that span infancy to

In Canadian schools, bullying happens every 7.5 minutes in the playgrounds and every 25 minutes in the classroom. These statistics paint a very alarming and 'un-Canadian' picture of childhood in Canada. Unfortunately, we are not the only ones who are noticing.

Recently the World Health Organization (WHO) ranked Canada in the bottom third of the 40 developed nations studied, according to their latest survey on Health Behaviours of School-Aged Children. The survey, which is based on children's reports of bullying and victimization.

Although the statistics are alarming, the human impact is heartbreaking - children who are victimized can be emotionally scarred for life. For those who survive, and recent media reports remind us that many don't, the consequences can be devastating and long lasting.

Thursday May 27th and Friday May 28th leading Canadian and International researchers, will gather with community organizations and educators of Canada to examine the most current research and findings in a quest to advance solutions and strategies that can protect our children and create a world where everyone is able to live, learn, play and work in safe and healthy relationships.

Unique to the world, Canada has created PREVNet (the Promoting Relationships Eliminating Violence Network), that brings together an unparalleled network of more than 60 researchers, and 70 graduate students, from 21 universities, and 50 national partner organizations, all committed to advancing research and practice to create a world without bullying. Led by scientific co-directors Drs. Debra Pepler (York University) and Wendy Craig (Queen's University), this powerful group is gathering to find and implement the solutions Canada needs.

This two day gathering entitled "Health Relationships, Healthy Development, Healthy Communities" is being held in Hamilton, Ontario at McMaster University and is, co-hosted by PREVNet and the Community-University Research Alliance for the Prevention of Bullying, mac-cura.ca led by Dr. Tracy Valliancourt. Feature presentations will include an international panel discussion on next steps in violence prevention, as well as world leading Canadian research by Canada's best researchers on:

    -   Children's Mental Health & Healthy Relationships - Dr. Shelley Hymel,
        UBC will speak to the role of interpersonal relationships in
        fostering a child's social-emotional and academic growth and how
        children must navigate two different social worlds - the worlds of
        adults and the worlds of peers.
    -   Strengthening Parent-Teen Relationships to Reduce Youth Aggression
        and Enhance Healthy Adjustment: An Attachment Based Intervention -
        Ms. Karla Braber and Dr. Marlene Moretti, Simon Fraser University
    -   The Role of Adults in Promoting Health Relationships - exploring the
        multiple ways that adults can promote healthy relationships to
        support healthy development - Dr. Debra Pepler, York University
    -   Neurobiology of Abuse - exploring the connections between physical
        pain and social pain and their overlapping development by Dr. Tracy
        Vaillancourt, Ottawa
    -   International panel to discuss next steps in violence prevention -
        including Dr. Rowell Husemann, University of Michigan, USA;
        Dr. Marion Underwood, University of Texas at Dallas, USA; Dr. Charles
        Cunningham, McMaster University, Canada and Dr. Debra Pepler, York
        University, Canada.
    -   Special presentation by Nico Archambault, winner of So You Think You
        Can Dance Canada!, and passionate advocate for bullying prevention.
    -   And, much much more! Please see attached summary of presenting
        researchers and their topics of study.

With all sessions open to the media, and all researchers available for interviews, this is an unprecedented opportunity to step inside our best and most current research to advance solutions for bullying and take an active step to affect change for Canada, and the world.

Beyond the heart break that is the human cost of bullying, and the tragic stories of death we hear again, and again, the WHO estimates the economic costs of interpersonal violence for Canada at $9 billion annually.

It is time for Canadians to take a stand against bullying, and stand up for our children, and our country. Please join us on May 27th and 28th to learn the most recent findings and solutions so that together we can make a difference. Meet firsthand the researchers who are using science to inform practice, and meet the organizations who are on the front lines every day implementing solutions and strategies to protect our children.

    What We Know About Bullying Today

    -   It is not a right of passage. It is a relationship problem that needs
        to be addressed with relationship solutions. Bullying is defined as
        repeated aggression in which there is an imbalance of power between
        the child who bullies and the child who is victimized. Children who
        bully learn to use power and aggression to control and distress
        others. Children who are victimized become increasingly powerless and
        find themselves trapped in relationships in which they are abused.

    -   It does not end at childhood. Bullying is a form of abuse at the
        hands of peers that can take different forms at different ages -
        physical, emotional, sexual or social. Research now shows that as
        individual's age, bullying often continues in the form of dating
        aggression, crime, aggression in sport, sexual harassment or
        workplace harassment.

    -   Current interventions are not working. Just over half of the
        evaluated school based program interventions report positive outcomes
        in reducing bullying, and 15% of them report negative results - they
        actually make the problem worse. We need to come together with common
        understanding and informed strategies to address bullying in ALL the
        places where children live, learn, play and work.

    -   Bullying and Social Neuroscience

        We now know that there is a connection between physical pain and what
        we experience as social pain, and that both activate similar regions
        of the brain. These recent studies help explain why it is that being
        bullied hurts so much and the possible evolutionary role that this
        pain takes.

    -   Adults and Peers are children's best chance for change and help. When
        peers intervene, a bullying episode can end within 10 seconds. The
        most effective strategy for children is to tell an adult.

    About PREVNet

PREVNet (The Promoting Relationships and Eliminating Violence Network) is a leading global network of researchers and organizations that work together to promote healthy relationships and prevent bullying. Founded by leading Canadian researchers Dr. Wendy Craig, Professor Department of Psychology, Queen's University, and Dr. Debra Pepler, Distinguished Research Professor of Psychology, York University, PREVNet is a New Initiative of the Networks of Centres of Excellence, and comprises researchers and graduate students from over 20 universities in 11 disciplines working in collaboration with over 50 youth-serving organizations in the fields of education, health, community, recreation, arts, media, and technology. PREVNet's vision is that one day everyone will live, learn, play and work in safe and healthy relationships.

Contact us at www.prevnet.ca

    About mac-cura.ca

MAC-CURA (Community-University Research Alliance for the Prevention of Bullying) is an equal partnership between community partners and university researchers who are working together to tackle the problem of bullying. Using a community-based effort that enlists the aid of all citizens in Hamilton, Ontario, the primary efforts of this Community-University Research Alliance are:

    1.  building community awareness and understanding of the serious impact
        that bullying has on children and youth;
    2.  examining the prevalence of bullying both within and outside the
        school context;
    3.  investigating the factors that influence bullying and victimization;
    4.  carefully evaluating the effectiveness of community-based
        interventions to reduce bullying;
    5.  disseminating best practice approaches to reducing bullying; and
    6.  building capacity that will permit a long-term commitment to this

Contact us at www.mac-cura.ca

    -   The complete conference agenda and speakers list is available at

    -   Tip sheets for adults, children, and youth, with great tools and
        strategies, are available for download at www.prevnet.ca.


For further information: For further information: Cathy Loblaw, PREVNet, cell (416) 727-3272 or office (905) 841-9703 or cloblaw@rogers.com

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