In a statement, the PSP said it was available to continue to carry out awareness-raising actions and to respond to requests for intervention, adapted to the specifics of the situation of combating the covid-19 pandemic, namely using digital channels and in coordination with schools. In this sense, teams from the Escola Segura Programme must be contacted locally or contact made through Escolasegura@psp.pt.
In the note, PSP recalls that in the current school year, it is responsible for the security of 3,000 schools, attended by about one million students. “The continuation of the school year, now in an 'online' format, has the potential to increase 'cyberbullying' as an epiphenomenon of 'bullying' which, through information technologies (social networks, messaging platforms, games or text messages from), con-substantiates the same crimes of aggression, threat, injury, defamation, persecution or debauchery of private life ”, it is underlined.
The PSP recalls that “'cyberbullying' is constituted as behaviour (reprehensible and that constitutes a crime) that targets one or a group of specific victims, practiced intentionally, unevenly and over time, causing fear or shame before the group. This behaviour is observable in insulting, intimidating, humiliating, offending, stalking, threatening, harassing or excluding a person or group”.
In the last two academic years (2018/2019 and 2019/2020) the PSP, through the Escola Segura programme, carried out 156,636 initiatives in the school context, of which 2,710 were dedicated to the theme of 'cyberbullying', covering about 65,000 students.
PSP points out that over the last 10 years there has been a decrease in the total number of occurrences that can be classified as 'bullying' reported in each academic year. It also registered a decrease in the relative weight of bodily harm and an increase in the frequency of injuries and threats, these often addressed as 'cyberbullying'. The latter, which represented 29 percent of the occurrences in the academic year 2013/2014, reach 40 percent of the total occurrences in the last year. "The increase in the relative weight of injuries and threats shows that the conflict is being detected and participated at an early stage of its escalation, which is why the number of attacks has been decreasing", says the PSP.