New European project launched to tackle disablist bullying


The National Anti-Bullying Research and Resource Centre at Dublin City University (DCU) is to lead a new two-year European project called DisAbuse that will address the issue of bullying of those with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND).

International studies related to what is commonly known as disablist bullying have consistently revealed higher rates of incidence. SEN/SEND individuals are likely to be bullied two-three times as much as their non-SEND peers.

The project, which will help identify suitable prevention and counter strategies, has been financed by the Ireland’s Higher Education Authority and the EU Erasmus+ Programme.

Speaking at DisAbuse’s launch, which was timed to coincide with the International Day of Persons with Disabilities and the project’s first international seminar, Ms Mary Mitchell O’Connor TD, Ireland’s Minister for Higher Education, said:

All forms of bullying are unacceptable and can have devastating impact on people’s lives. The research that takes place under Dr O’Higgins Norman at the National Anti-Bullying Centre at DCU is providing essential insights into the causes and effects of different types of bullying. This important work will undoubtedly bring a deeper understanding to the area and will help us to support people who experience such bullying. I am honoured to open this seminar on disablist bullying and launch the DisAbuse Project and wish both ventures well.

Speaking about the project, Dr James O’Higgins Norman, Director of the National Anti-Bullying Research and Resource Centre at DCU, said:

The partners will co-operate to evaluate and combine research, best practice and modern pedagogical approaches (eLearning, partner learning, and peer learning) with widely used technological means. Our aims being to create a timely and ongoing support module that will be available to both SEN/SEND learners, and those who seek to educate or work with them.

The module will aim to improve socialisation, reduce marginalisation and ease users’ lives in school and their migration into adulthood and the working world, to allow them to enjoy fully rounded lives and contribute more widely to society. It will also support and educate, teachers and trainers in promoting equity, diversity, and inclusion in learning through educational institutions and wider society, via more in-depth understanding and work with SEN/SEND individuals, and the provision of training/educational materials.

The project’s European partners include the ABC, Dublin City University, Ireland; Fondazione Mondo Digitale, Italy; ICSTE-IUL, Instituto Universitário de Lisboa, Portugal; IADT-The Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology, Ireland; UM-The University of Murcia, Spain.


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