Finnish city extends use of national anti-bullying campaign
The city of Turku in Finland is stepping up its use of a groundbreaking anti-bullying project initiative that is now being adopted across the country.
City leaders say they will continue to use the Someturva service in an effort to combat what remains one of the biggest problems faced by young people around the world. It has the potential of causing lasting damages to children which they will carry throughout their lives and to substantially influence their mental health.
Turku began using the Someturva service in 2019, becoming the first municipality in the country to do so. Now, local authorities have announced that they will extend its use into the upcoming year in an effort to ramp up their anti-bullying efforts.
‘Most common crimes were defamation’
Someturva is a digital service where users can report any and all instances of bullying, including harassment or other inappropriate behaviour they encounter on social media or elsewhere online. Children can receive log-in instructions from their schools. After logging in, Someturva can be used anonymously. The user of the service will receive a reply to his / her notification within 48 hours, which will include a legal and psychological assessment as well as concrete instructions.
During the first months of the system’s trial run in 2019, young people from Turku sent dozens of reports of harassment through Someturva. About 35 per cent of the reported cases met the characteristics of a crime. The most common crimes were defamation, crimes against the child’s sexual autonomy, and violation of the peace of communication.
Riikka Koivunen, Service Manager for Basic Education in Turku, said: “The schools of the city of Turku are committed to work against bullying. We find it important that young people who experience harassment also receive support during distance learning, in their free time and when they do not dare to seek advice from a familiar adult. We hope that tackling Finnish bullying will act as both a corrective and a preventive measure, and that young people will find sanctions for their actions.”
Project leaders for Someturva say the last year has been especially hard for children, with distance learning and social isolation wreaking havoc on youngsters’ social lives. Online bullying has become even more rampant, which makes the extension of Turku’s partnership with the anti-bullying platform even more important.