Charel Schmit, the Ombudsman for Children and Adolescents in Luxembourg, has voiced grave concerns over a recent incident of bullying in the capital city, captured on camera and widely disseminated on the internet.
The incident, which involved a young girl being physically assaulted and humiliated, has underscored the distressing prevalence of such behaviour among young people.
In response to the video, which was shared extensively on social media on Thursday, Schmit emphasised the pressing need to swiftly identify and support victims, offering them immediate psychosocial and legal assistance.
Schmit acknowledged the difficulty in determining whether such incidents are increasing, given that the authorities have not evaluated the prevalence of juvenile delinquency and similar phenomena statistically and criminologically over the past decades.
While it is unwise to draw conclusions from isolated incidents, Schmit noted that those working closely with young people are expressing genuine concern. A troubling lack of empathy among the youth and the various forms of violence they encounter in their daily lives is particularly alarming, he added.
The recent incident in question, according to Schmit, exhibits "extreme violence". Moreover, the way it was widely disseminated through what Schmit referred to as "anti-social media", intensifies the trauma experienced by the victim.
Schmit underscored the inadequate political efforts to actively combat the spread of violence on social media, advocating for greater accountability from major platforms, rather than placing the burden solely on children and parents.
Schmit encourages victims and their families to contact the police and youth protection services. He also advises anyone who receives distressing images of this nature to report them to BeeSecure.
Where can you get help?
Support is available for children and young people through the child and youth hotline at 116111.
The Psychosocial and Scholastic Assistance Centre (CePAS) also offers contact points in primary and secondary schools across the country (website only available in French).
Adults can reach out to the SOS Détresse helpline at 45 45 45.
The association Mobbing asbl (website available in English) also offers support specifically for bullying situations.
Additional resources and contact information for various support organisations in Luxembourg can be found on the website prevention-suicide.lu (website available only in French and German).
If you are personally affected, you may also contact the police at any time.