The Irish Athletic Boxing Association (IABA) officially launched its new ‘Let’s KO Bullying’ Campaign at Dublin’s National Stadium this afternoon.
The IABA’s ‘Let’s KO Bullying’ campaign, which is fully endorsed by the ISPCC as part of their National Cyberbullying Awareness Week, aims to highlight the importance of spreading an anti-bullying ethos amongst all affiliated clubs and members throughout the Island of Ireland.
Bullying exists in every facet of society and is particularly prevalent in today’s social media driven world. The effects of bullying can be long lasting and in many cases devastating, leading to depression, self-harm and even suicide.
David Britton, IABA Child Protection Officer explained the new IABA ‘Let’s KO Bullying’ initiative as a two part campaign. The first of which is a poster and flyer campaign which is specifically designed with their younger members in mind.
This part of the campaign is spearheaded by a new anti-bullying mascot ‘Boxer’, the Anti-Bullying Bull. The second part of the campaign is the specially commissioned Short Video(Click to view) featuring many of Ireland’s top boxing athletes including Ireland’s first ever Elite Men’s World Champion, Michael Conlan, fellow Rio hopeful Joe Ward and and several other members of the Irish team.
IABA President, Pat Ryan along with Ireland’s top boxers and Olympic gold medallist, Michael Carruth were also on hand to help officially launch the initiative this afternoon.
The IABA outlined how it has worked very hard in the last number of years to put various safeguards in place for their clubs and members with the employment of a full-time Child Protection Officer, two Club Development Officers and the implementation of the updated ‘Young People in Boxing Policy’ which includes An Anti-Bullying Policy and a Social Media Policy.
IABA CEO, Fergal Carruth, speaking at today’s Launch, said: “With over 75% of our existing membership base under the age of 18 years of age, safeguarding and child protection are of paramount importance to the IABA. The IABA is committed to the continued development of such policies and we will endeavour to make the sport of boxing a child friendly one and one which all its members view bullying in any form as completely unacceptable.
“Today also officially marks 150 days to the Start of the Rio Games. Already, we have four of our boxers qualified and we are very hopeful of many more qualifying over the coming months.”
Also in attendance were Sinead McKee from the ISPCC, Paul Stephenson from the NSPCC and Bernie Priestly from Sport Ireland, who fully supported the campaign and in spreading this positive message.
The Irish Society of the Prevention of Cruelty to Children’s (ISPCC) National Anti- Bullying Coordinator Sinead McKee noted during the launch that: “All too often within our child protection charity we see the negative impact and long term detrimental effects that bullying can have on the self-esteem, confidence and mental health of young people.
“Supporting a young person on the issue of bullying can also be a hugely stressful time for parents and carers and for all those other important adults in a young person’s life including sporting coaches and trainers.
“We support the IABA in taking positive steps to try and create awareness about bullying and in particular cyberbullying and we also compliment them in their efforts to remind young people of the supports available to them if they ever need it. It’s encouraging for the ISPCC to see national sporting organisations such as the IABA taking this issue seriously and to see them taking practical steps in trying to proactively manage the issue.
“Tackling cyberbullying in Ireland effectively will take the combined efforts of several stakeholders including parents and carers, sporting organisations, schools, organisations like the ISPCC and most importantly from young people themselves. We wish the IABA success with their campaign, which falls within the same week as our own Cyber bullying Awareness Week.”