Staff associated with ABC have been involved with the following projects.

Sexting and Peer Popularity among Irish Adolescents

This project is a scoping study that investigates the extent of peer popularity influence and sexting behaviours (i.e. sending/ receiving “sexts”). The aims are to examine: 1) the rates of sexting, 2) differences across Genders, and 3) investigate the influencing role of popularity in sexting behaviour.

Researchers: Dr. Mairéad Foody, Dr. Angela Mazzone, Dr. Magnus Loftsson, Derek Laffan MSc., Prof. James O’Higgins Norman.

DisAbuse: Experience to Change, Providing the Right Support Services to Tackle Disablist Bullying

This project aims to expand and utilize existing knowledge and experience of all participating partners in order to learn from one another and innovate a more interactive, relevant, and experiential based set of training resources for use by both those with intellectual disabilities (ID) and special education needs (SEN) and those that may be training to work with them as teachers/educators or those who already are. The training course that will be developed will be directly applied to the target groups via the higher education partner organsiations. The aiming is to enhance not only the knowledge and skills of educators and student educators to help them better understand the difficulties of those with ID/SEN and aid in the prevention and intervention of their being bullied but also increase the knowledge and skills of those most likely to be targeted by disabilist bullying, fostering their increased socialization to a world in which they are often the most marginalised, by encouraging their direct input to the project and having both target groups train and learn together.

ResearchersDr James O’Higgins NormanProfessor Mona O’MooreLian McGuire MA MPsychFiona Weldon MA.

External Partners: ISCTE University Institute of Lisbon (Portugal), University of Murcia (Spain), Fondazione Mondo Digitale (Italy) and Institute of Art, Design and Technology (Ireland).

Funded by: Higher Education Authority and EU Erasmus+ Fund.

Amount: €251,000.00.

GEM – Gender Equality Matters: Tackling Gender Stereotyping, Gender-based Bullying and Gender-based Violence

GEM aims to raise awareness, build capacity and provide training for children, parents and educators, to promote gender equality through a rights and equality-based approach. It also aims to exchange good practices between the partner organisations and to empower the whole school and wider community to challenge attitudes and behaviours that undermine gender equality. Using an equality and rights-based approach, classroom materials have been developed for use in upper primary and lower post-primary levels , are age-appropriate, and are grounded in the SPHE curriculum and school policies such as anti-bullying, wellbeing and child protection. The development of the classroom materials was guided by an Advisory Group with expertise in both the topic and working with primary pupils and post-primary students.They were piloted in Irish, Greek, Spanish and Italian schools. Building confidence and capacity levels is key to the GEM project. Therefore, training modules were designed and provided to teachers, parents and the wider education community. Furthermore, a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) was developed.

The GEM conference will take place on the 11th and 12th of February 2021. To submit a poster, workshop or paper abstract please see the Guidelines for Abstracts. Please register here to attend the conference.

The GEM Classroom Materials launched by former President Dr. Mary McAleese and the DCU Chancellor has been uploaded to the DCU Channel on Youtube. It is available to watch here.

For additional GEM project information and further conference details please see the GEM Project Website or follow us on Twitter @GenderEqualityM

Researchers: Dr. Seline Keating (Principal Investigator), Dr. Bernie Collins and Derek Laffan MSc.

External Partners: Italy (FMD); Spain (University of Murcia); Greece (KMOP) and Netherlands (ESHA)

Funded by: EU Rights, Equality and Citizenship (REC) Programme.

Amount: €460,000

BReAThE: Bullying Experiences Among Roma Children in Ireland.

Roma people are among the most disadvantaged societies in the EU. They have been experiencing poverty, racism, discrimination, harassment, and bullying at all levels. Experiencing these barriers can act as serious deterrents to Roma parents sending their children to school. A prevention program (facilitating the inclusion of Roma children in schools) to combat these barriers is key to unlock this vicious cycle. However, this is hampered by the continued absence of data on Roma, especially in regards to bullying. Without proper scientific research on the experiences of Roma children and school attitudes towards them no effective inclusion strategies can be developed.

Primary objectives of this project are: (1) to identify the prevalence and impact of bullying amongst Roma children, (2) to determine whether or not gender differences influence bullying, (3) to describe experiences of and attitudes towards Roma children among school and educational staff, and (4) to assess inclusiveness methods that schools employ.

Following these objectives, this project aims: (1) to create a cross-national policy advisory document and outline for a training module for Roma inclusiveness in schools to be implemented beyond the life of the project; (2) to enhance the cross-community capacity, advancing collaboration between stakeholders (e.g. Roma, NGOs, school communities, academia); (3) to facilitate the inclusiveness of Roma children in schools; and (4) to promote integration, reducing bullying, and enhancing the well-being of Roma students.

The project flier for the BReAThe project can be accessed here and the international BReAThe project website can be accessed here.

Researchers: Dr. Mairéad Foody  Dr. Seffetullah Kuldas and Lian McGuire MSc. MA.

External Partners:

MUSICANTIA – Culture and Educational Roma Centre
NASC – Migrant and Refugee Rights Centre
KISA – Action for Equality, Support, Antiracism

Funded by: European Commission under Rights, Equality, and Citizenship Programme

Funding Amount: €224,815.50

An Empiricial Investigation of Cyberbullying in Irish Youths

Cyberbullying has emerged as a high profile concern for health practitioners, policy makers, schools, teachers, parents, and communities across the world. In general, it involves using electronic forms (e.g., social networking sites and texting) repeatedly and over time against a victim who cannot easily defend him/herself. This form of bullying is believed to have devastating impacts on mental health. Despite the serious consequences of such incidences, research into this phenomenon is relatively limited in an Irish context. In addition, the factors that make some students resilient to these stresses (e.g. caring friendships) have never been studied in Irish schools. This is particularly surprising given their importance for informing intervention programs in educational and community settings. Therefore the aim of this research is to fill the gap in current literature by conducting a systematic large-scale analysis of cyberbullying from a psychological perspective. Specifically, we will investigate the prevalence rates,psychological impacts, risk and resiliency factors of cyberbullying and investigate its’relationship to traditional bullying. The proposed project will have a direct impact on public understanding and we plan for our findings to be used in a way that will increase the effectiveness of public policy as well as to enhance the social and emotional health of young Irish people.

ResearchersDr. Mairéad Foody and Dr. James O’Higgins Norman

Funded by: Irish Research Council.

Amount: €85,000.00.

Learning in Liminal Spaces: The Impact of the Arts on the Development of Creativity in Post-Primary Education in Ireland

Irene White is a lecturer in Drama and English Education at the School of Human Development, Dublin City University. Irene is completing a PhD by publication centring on the theme of learning in liminal spaces. Focusing on the Freirean concepts of voice, dialogue, and empowerment, her research examines the participatory arts as a vehicle for transformative learning and highlights the importance of liminal spaces for marginalised communities. Drawing on the anthropological concept of liminality, the study investigates the role of socially engaged participatory arts organisations in providing such spaces in the community and considers how the practices of such organisations might translate into formal education settings. It is argued that the current emphasis on creativity in education policy if it is to translate into practice, would benefit significantly from insights into the ethos and practices of socially engaged participatory arts organisations currently operating in the non-formal education sector in Ireland. The research explores the personal, social, cultural, and educational benefits of promoting creativity through the participatory arts and identifies the narrative based methods of drama, storytelling and creative writing as effective tools in the democratisation of the arts and the promotion of equality in education.

ResearchersIrene White and Dr. James O’Higgins Norman

External Partner: Fighting Words

Funded by: Department of Education & Skills and National Action Plan on Bullying (2013).

Amount: €4000.00

Hate Track: Tracking and Analysing Online Racist Hate Speech

The project is concerned with racist hate speech in online environments, and has two components: the first part is the creation of a tool that allows the automatic harvesting and classification of racist hate speech on public Facebook pages and on Twitter, and the other part is concerned with identifying barriers to reporting such abuse. This project will be deriving definitions of racist hate speech through focus groups with anti-racist NGOs, operationalising these as part of a computer algorithm and collect instances encountered on Facebook and Twitter. The researchers will then discuss these again with informants to understand which they would report and why. The team also plan to compare the database with the database of ENAR Ireland, which collects reports of racism in Ireland, to see any differences and overlaps. The project will be associated both with ABC and the Institute for Future Media and Journalism.

ResearchersDr. Eugenia Siapera

Partner: DCU Institute for Future Media and Journalism.

Funded by: Irish Research Council.

Amount: €100,000

TESIC: Taking the Temperature, Developing and Piloting an LGBT-Positive School Climate Evaluation Tool for Post-Primary Schools in Ireland

The project set out to develop and pilot a survey tool, which second-level schools can use to evaluate the positivity of their school climate and culture in relation to attitudes towards difference and diversity, with specific reference to LGBT identity. It is envisaged that the tool will be particularly useful in preventing / dealing with homophobic and transphobic bullying. It was in collaboration with the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network’s (GLEN). The project responded directly to the DES Action Plan on Bullying (2013), which recommended the development of this type on intervention, and to a key study commissioned by the Equality Authority, which stressed that Irish schools need to adopt a whole-school approach to LGBT inclusivity, including in particular whole school evaluation. As well as adopting a whole-school approach, it is often necessary to provide support directly to individual students and staff who experience homophobic / transphobic bullying (O’Higgins et al., 2010: 49). This is far easier to identify and deal with if the school has an LGBT Climate Survey procedure in place. A report on the pilot phase of this study is available here.

ResearchersDr. Debbie Ging, Dr. Mark Rowantree, Joshua D. Savage MA and Dr. James O’Higgins Norman.

External Partners: Gay and Lesbian Equality Network (GLEN).

Funded by: Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission and Irish Research Council

Amount: €19,105 and €10,000.

CoTES: Cyberbullying of Teachers by Students

The primary focus of this project is to identify the phenomenon of the cyberbullying of post-primary teachers in Ireland. This research attempts to provide a diverse understanding of the online lives of teachers in secondary schools, experiences of victimisation and how this in turn effects a teacher’s perception of school climate and help seeking behaviour. Gathering data from post-primary teachers, some of the variables for examination include how teachers self-regulate their profiles on social media, the security and privacy prevention tools used, role model behaviour and their attitudes towards communicating with students online. This research investigated the types of cyberbullying that teachers experienced and how this in turn effected their own perceptions of school climate by those who had and had not been cyberbullied. Results will identify differences between victimised and non-victimised teachers. This research utilises a mixed methods design to provide further insight into teacher cyber victimisation.

ResearchersLiam Challenor MSc and Dr. James O’Higgins Norman

External Partners: Teaching Council.

Funded by: Department of Education & Skills National Action Plan on Bullying.

Amount: €99,968.00


ABC will work with partners in Spain, Belgium, Austria, Romania, and Portugal on a project focused on empowering parents to address cyberbullying among young people. The project is called “Training parents for detecting and preventing risks on Social Networks and Internet”. The main aim of this project is to train parents in the use of ICT and Social Media and the risks involved for young people.

Funding Source: Erasmus+

Funding Amount: €285,988.25

Staff Involved: Dr. James O’Higgins Norman and Lian McGuire MSc

The potential of using scenarios/vignettes as an approach to the objective measurement of bullying experiences in the workplace

This is a joint research project with the centre for research, policy and practice in Education (CARPE) at DCU. Bulling assessment measures have generally focused on school bullying and interactions between peers. The most widely used assessment is the Olweus Bullying Questionnaire (OBQ) which characterises peer bullying behaviour as involving at least one of the following: physical harassment, verbal abuse, relational or exclusion bullying and cyberbullying. This tool and others of its kind are advantageous to research but still pose certain issues in terms of providing absolute measures of bullying behaviour. One recent meta-analysis conducted by the Anti-Bullying Research Centre, DCU showed that a range of methodological issues influenced the rates of bullying in studies across Ireland, even if the same assessment scale was used. These included: the use or lack of a definition of bullying, the timeframe participants were referred to (i.e., ‘ever’ to ‘one month ago’) and even how answers were categorised (‘frequent’ to ‘occasional’). While the OBQ has been reliably validated in several large scale and international studies among school children, there is no equivalent for adult or workplace bullying. This project will undertake research on current approaches to the assessment of workplace bullying. We will build on this review to develop a Rasch measurement scale using scenarios/vignettes that can be trialled with a small sample of Irish adults.

Staff Involved: Dr James O’Higgins Norman and Dr Mairéad Foody National Anti-Bullying Research and Resource Centre (ABC); Prof. Michael O’Leary CARPE


ABC will work with partners in Greece, Italy and Belgium on a project entitled “Using ICT training based on social networking tools with peer learning and crowdsourcing techniques to train school education stakeholders on how to deal with bullying”. The project main objective is to design, create, implement and evaluate a training platform that will provide teachers, teacher trainers, and all other stakeholders access to accredited training material on school bullying and cyber bullying, as well as the means to publish their experiences and to comment and tag the experience of their peers.

Funding Source: Erasmus+

Funding Source: €193,832

Staff Involved: Dr. James O’Higgins Norman and Lian McGuire MSc

Experiences of Implementing the National Action Plan on Bullying (2013) in DEIS Schools

Delivering Equality of Opportunities in Schools (DEIS) the Action Plan for Educational Inclusion, was launched in May 2005 and remains the Governments instrument to address inequalities in education. The Action Plan focuses on addressing and prioritising the educational needs of children and young people from lower socio economic communities, from pre-school through second-level education (3-18 years). In 2013 the Government launched a National Action Plan on Bullying and related policies and procedures to assist schools in developing a proactive strategy and methods of bullying prevention and intervention. This project is aimed at understanding what have been the experiences of DEIS schools in terms of implementing the objectives of the National Action Plan on Bullying (2013) and implementing the required policies and procedures. The data for the study will be collected by means of a questionnaire distributed among school principals and deputy principals.

Funding Source: DCU Shared Research Fund

Funding Amount: €3,000

Staff Involved: Dr. James O’Higgins Norman, Dr. Paul Downes and Ms. Helena Murphy BSc

Investigating bullying in children with Special Educational Needs

The aim of this project is to develop an appropriate construction of the concept of bullying as it applies or is different among young people with Special Educational Needs. (1) To observe the behaviours and interactions amongst peers with pupils with disabilities in Post Primary Schools. (2) To record and compare the experiences of pupils with disabilities and their peers with no disabilities on bullying. (3) To identify and establish the different variables that contributes to bullying behaviours against pupils with disabilities. (4) To investigate teacher attitudes to bullying behaviours to pupils with disabilities. (5) To develop a participatory research programme with pupils with disabilities by enabling them to cultivate educational programmes for their peers in Post Primary schools on bullying and Disability. The methodology will involve two groups of secondary school students in Ireland and will include those with and without disabilities in order record and establish the differences in their experiences of bullying in mainstream secondary schools. The methodology will employ active participatory research methods where student voice will be central towards the development and cultivation of educational programmes for post primary schools.

Funding Source: ABC with support from Department of Education & Skills

Funding Amount: €2,000

Staff Involved: Dr. Geraldine Scanlon

Red Haired Racism in School Contexts in Ireland and Spain

This research will engage with secondary school students in Ireland and Spain to explore how young people construct perceptions based on hair colour and to understand how red haired children experience their hair colour. There are four research objectives: (1) To explore perceptions of read hair amongst second level school children in Ireland and Spain, focusing on experiences of labelling and discrimination. (2) To engage participants in discussions around how perceptions of hair colour are constructed in society, investigating specifically how red hair is constructed in positive and/or negative ways. (3) To understand the experiences of young people who have been labelled or discriminated because of their red hair. (4) To develop anti-bullying resources aimed at critically deconstructing stereotypes based on hair colour. The methodology will implement active participatory learning techniques with classes such as ‘Jigsaw Discussions’ to explore in small groups how society perceives people based on hair colour. Participant discussions will be moderated and recorded. Students will also be asked to participate in ‘Silent Conversations’. This involves presenting participants with a range of age appropriate stimulus materials such as poetry, media reports and visual images of different hair colours (as well as other variables, such as size, height, skin colour, facial expression, age). After initial small group discussions, students work alone and in silence to compose individual written conversations with the materials. Semi-structured interviews will also be conducted with children with red hair to gain an understanding of their embodied experiences of having red hair.

Funding Source: ABC with support from Department of Education & Skills

Funding Amount: €2,000

Staff Involved: Dr. Majella McSharry and Dr. James O’Higgins Norman

Hate Speech on Social Media: The role of social media corporations

The aim of this project is to find ways in which social media platforms regulate (or not) problematic forms of speech and expression, and to identify the possible outcomes and implications of this. The public debate on hate speech is polarized between two extremes: either complete freedom of speech or immediate banning and taking down of material reported as offensive. However, there is little attention paid on the actual ways in which social media corporations have developed and apply relevant policies on their platforms. The research aims to identify the variations in policy in three social media platforms, YouTube, Twitter and Facebook, the rationale, and the implications of these policies.

Funding Source: ABC with support from Department of Education & Skills

Funding Amount: €2,000

Researchers: Dr. Eugenia Sapiera and Paloma Viejo Otero

Online Misogyny and Bullying

The purpose of this project is to identify and theorise the complex relationships between online culture, technology and anti-feminist bullying and hate speech. It explores how sexist bullying online has been shaped by the technological affordances of the internet and social media, and whether they are borne of the same types of discontents articulated in older forms of anti-feminism or to what extent they might articulate a different constellation of social, cultural and gender-political factors. Online bullying and online misogyny have a very real impact on the lives, careers, visibility and safety of women. However, as Jane (2014) has pointed out in one of the few journal articles published specifically on this topic, ‘e-bile’ proliferates in the cybersphere and is the subject of extensive media coverage internationally, yet it receives little attention in scholarship. This project will facilitate more focused, transnational and theoretically coherent enquiry and debate, and will help to give this increasingly important area of enquiry the impetus, attention and theoretical cohesion it requires.

Funding Source: ABC with support from Department of Education & Skills

Funding Amount: €2,000

Staff Involved: Dr. Debbie Ging and Dr. Eugenia Sapiera

Tackling Workplace Bullying for Adults with Learning Disability or Difficulties – Let me be me

Let me be Me is an EU Leonardo da Vinci project which will develop a research-based training toolkit on tackling the workplace bullying of Adults with Learning Disabilities or Difficulties (ALD/D) for employers, trainers and support staff. Let me be Me is an EU Leonardo da Vinci funded project which aims to provide a research-based training toolkit on tackling the workplace bullying of Adults with Learning Disabilities or Difficulties (ALD/D) for employers, trainers and support staff.

The training toolkit will include background information on the problem, its nature and the extent in Europe, current projects, initiatives and approaches to tackling workplace bullying, best practice Europe-wide as well as practical guidance and resources for trainers working with the target groups of people with a learning difficulty/learning disability, employers those working in field of supported employment. It will also include a Trainee’s workbook, specifically designed for ALD/D.

The toolkit will be practice-oriented and aims to prepare trainers and employers for working with a range of different target groups. Further details from | Newsletter | Summary Report

Funding Source: EU Leonardo da Vinci

Funding Amount: €293,947

Staff Involved: Prof. Mona O’Moore, Lian McGuire MEd, Claire Healy MEd.

ARBAX – Against Bullying and Xenophobia Project

ARBAX is a multilateral project, funded by a grant from the European Union Lifelong Learning Programme. The project commenced in January 2012 and will be completed in December 2013. The main aim of the project is to contribute to preventing and combating bullying in schools, focusing on racial bullying. Multiethnic school environments, resulting from migration and globalization, are experiencing new forms of violence directed towards pupils coming from different social, cultural and ethnical environments. ARBAX shows pupils how different identities and cultures can peacefully coexist together and how ethnic stereotypes and prejudices can contribute to bullying incidents. The project will design an ICT tool which comprises a 3D video game and a social network that can be accessed by pupils. Through these, an anti-bullying, anti-racism and anti-xenophobia campaign will be promoted. Further information here | Project website:

Funding Source: EU Life Long Programme Comenius Initiative

Funding Amount: €400,000

Staff Involved: Prof. Mona O’Moore, Dr. Erika Doyle, Lian McGuire MEd.


The CyberTraining-4-Parents (CT4P) project aims to develop and provide training courses on how to deal with cyberbullying. The training courses will provide introduction into the basics of new media and the latest state of research on cyberbullying. Furthermore, they aim to equip parents with knowledge and strategies on how to cope with cyberbulying. Apart from three face-to-face training courses for trainers in each of our partner countries – Germany, Ireland, Israel, Norway and Portugal – we will offer two moderated online training courses for trainers. For parents we will provide a self-directed online course.

Funding Source: EU Life Long Programme Grundtvig Initiative

Funding Amount: €383,129

Staff Involved: Prof. Mona O’Moore, Lian McGuire MEd., Niall Crowley, Lucie Corcoran

Cyberbullying Among Adolescent Girls in Post-primary schools

New technologies are radically transforming the ways in which young people communicate. There is growing public concern about how these new modes of communication might be facilitating and exacerbating aggressive and intimidating behaviours, as well as impacting upon how teenagers think about privacy and public space. To date, there are no policy guidelines for Irish schools on cyberbullying. In order to better understand the complexities of this issue, and to arrive at findings which can inform policy and practice on this issue in the future, this study provides a quantitative and qualitative, inter-disciplinary analysis of the issues involves in cyberbullying among adolescent girls.

Funding Source: Faculty Research Capacity Fund

Funding Amount: €11,000

Staff Involved: Dr. James O’Higgins Norman, Dr. Debbie Ging, Minako O’Hagan

Alternatives to Political Violence

This project brings together 10 researchers and practitioners from across the island of Ireland, north and south, with a view to to promoting the peace and normalization process on the island of Ireland and to contribute to social, political, and economic stability through cross-border and cross-community cooperation. A particular focus of this project is the sharing of good practice on civil rights between Ireland (North and South) and the USA.

Funding Source: U.S. Department of State Bureau of Cultural and Educational Affairs

Funding Amount: €50,000

Staff Involved: James O’Higgins Norman