Sweden and Austria school bullying in focus

Sweden has the least amount of school bullying in the western world, a recent report from the OECD shows, coming in far below the average at only 4 percent despite a number of high-profile cases in the past few years. Austria, meanwhile, topped the list.

Sweden and Austria school bullying in focus
Despite the report, Sweden is not bully-free with a series of serious cases coming to light in recent years. Photo: Janerik Henriksson/TT

The report, which studied bullying in Europe and North America, found that less than one in 20 Swedish schoolchildren experience bullying, making it the country with the least number of people harassed. The average was estimated at 11 percent, with Austria recording a staggering 21 percent of people claiming to have been bullied.

Aside from Finland, which hit the average of about one in 10 being bullied, Sweden’s neighbours also fared well in the report, with Norway coming in at 9 percent and Denmark at 6 percent.

The 2015 report was based on data gathered for a 2009-2010 World Health Organisation (WHO) survey in which boys and girls aged 11, 13 and 15 were asked whether they had been bullied at least twice in the past few months. The OECD noted, however, that the data might not fully cover cyberbullying.

In January, a 16-year-old boy in Austria sued the government for not preventing his bullying.

But despite the report, Sweden has had its fair share of bullying cases come to light in recent years.

In 2013, the Lundsberg boarding school in central Sweden made global headlines and was temporarily closed after a series of bullying allegations where some of its students were accused of violently hazing newcomers. One of the more horrific examples was when a boy was burned on the back with a hot iron to the extent that he was hospitalised.

Sweden has also seen a string of cyberbullying cases, including Gothenburg teens who "slut shamed" fellow students on an Instagram account, and a 13-year-old girl who committed suicide after she was harassed and coerced by a 45-year-old man online.

A report released last year, showed that more than half of Swedish teenage girls aged between 13 and 16 had been subject to cyber abuse, mostly on facebook but also via a chat application known as Kik.