25 Mar 2013

Two thirds of Marshalls children bullied at school

7:07 am on 25 March 2013

A new report from the Marshall Islands says two out of three children have been bullied at school over the past year.

UNICEF Pacific's head of child protection, says it's startling to find out the extent of bullying reported by Marshallese children who are saying it makes them feel afraid to attend school and they can't concentrate on their studies.

Amanda Bissex says children are also saying they would like adults to listen to them and pay them more respect.

She says UNICEF will be working with the Marshall Islands government to improve under-reported child abuse and strenghten legal systems to protect children from harm.

"The report draws attention to some of the key issues for the protection of children from abuse, exploitation, and violence. It highlights issues around bullying of children, increasing rates of teen pregnancy and the lack of awareness about child protection and the services that are available."

Amanda Bissex says the report also shows increasing urbanisation and substance abuse are having a negative impact on child health.