Dr Topo Santoso, a professor of criminal law at the University of Indonesia, told CNA that the government’s decision to rope in the police means that they may be able to work together to implement comprehensive anti-bullying policies which “emphasise prevention, early detection, and appropriate consequences for the perpetrators”.
“(They can also) establish accessible reporting mechanisms for students, parents, and school staff (members) to report incidents of bullying. This can include hotlines, online platforms, or dedicated officers at schools who are trained to handle bullying cases effectively and confidentially.”
Dr Santoso added that the government and police could also collaborate with mental health professionals and counsellors to develop rehabilitation programs that address the underlying causes of bullying, such as anger management, empathy-building, and conflict resolution skills.
“By collaborating with the police, the government can ensure a more coordinated and comprehensive approach to handling bullying cases, which includes prevention, intervention, and appropriate consequences,” he said.
Meanwhile, anti-bullying movement Sudah Dong – translated to English as Enough – told CNA that issues that need to be addressed include the inconsistent enforcement of anti-bullying laws and policies in Indonesia, as well as reporting barriers of such cases, among others.
Ms Tantri, a programme manager at Sudah Dong, stressed that the current laws also lack proper support for perpetrators.
“While it’s essential to hold perpetrators accountable, there is also a need for interventions that address the underlying causes of their behaviour, such as counselling and rehabilitation programs,” said Ms Tantri who, like many Indonesians, goes by one name.
She added that the inconsistent enforcement of anti-bullying laws and reporting barriers of bullying cases must also be addressed.
“Anti-bullying laws and school policies can be inconsistent across different regions and institutions. More collective efforts may be needed to ensure consistent implementation and monitoring,” she told CNA.
Ms Tantri added: “Some students may hesitate to report (instances of) bullying due to a fear of retaliation or lack of trust in the reporting process. Creating a safe and anonymous reporting mechanism can help address this issue.
“The teachers and parents must (also) make collective efforts to create a communicative environment that lets the students know that reporting is not only accepted, but more importantly expected. This obviously could work as preventative and control (measures).”
Other gaps in the current laws include a need to raise awareness about the rights and protections of students against bullying, a need to create more peer support programs, as well as a more updated and comprehensive data collection and research on the issue in order to create informed evidence-based policies and interventions, she said.
Indonesia currently has several measures in place to address bullying in schools and support bullying victims.
According to Ms Tantri, this includes national anti-bullying campaigns, hotlines to report bullying incidents, as well as a legal framework through the Education Law, Law on Child Protection and the Criminal Code.
“Some schools (usually private schools in big cities) have implemented anti-bullying policies that typically include consequences for perpetrators,” she added.
“Some schools (usually private schools) may (also) offer counselling service for students who have been bullied or are experiencing emotional distress due to bullying.”