Allem Halkic was a teenager with a promising future until he tragically committed suicide as a result of cyber bullying. In 2015 more than 2,500 Australians committed suicide, that’s equivalent to 8 a day and 184 attempts are made daily. Bullying is a factor in some of these deaths and many could have been prevented if there was intervention.
As Mayor of the City of Moreland in 2010/2011 and 2012/2013, Oscar Yildiz JP a passionate advocate against bullying with the fantastic support of Peter Fitz (communications manager), led the developments of the bullying is a crime/cyber bullying CALDcom storyboards to inform his residents about the harmful effects of bullying. This initiative won the Australian local government award in Canberra (ACT) in 2012. Oscar launched these storyboards with families that had lost their children to bullying/cyber bullying. He quickly developed personal relationships with these families.
After hearing of the suicide of yet another teenager Sheniz Erkan to cyber bullying, Oscar called on Ali Halkic to accompany him to the Erkan family home. It was that night that Oscar felt there was a huge gap with the existing charities and organizations in responding to such tragedies. The destruction and pain Oscar felt that evening was incomprehensible. He left the home and made a call to his friend Shannon Deery and the seeds were planted. Oscar quickly forged a unique group of driven and passionate individuals with a common goal and the idea of a Foundation was born in Oscars lounge room.
A month doesn’t pass where we don’t see the loss of life to bullying in Australia. There are many stories of teenagers and adults who tragically end their lives after enduring unbearable, persistent and callous bullying either through their school, workplace, sporting club, community group or through social media.
In April 2012 a group of passionate individuals consisting of families of bullying victims, senior members of the police force, volunteers, psychologists, lawyers, teachers, politicians and professionals from various backgrounds established a Foundation like no other.
Channel 7 reporter and now Bully Zero Ambassador Nick McCallum attended the first meeting in Oscar’s home to prepare a news item which appeared on Channel 7 News – Monday 26th February 2012 at 6.14pm.
The Bully Zero Australia Foundation was launched by former Hon. Prime Minister Julia Gillard MP and Hon. Craig Ondarchie MP on March 16, 2013. The Foundation has gained support from various charity partners, ambassadors, media, sponsors and businesses.
Bully Zero Australia Foundation is a not-for-profit charity with DGR status and as at 14 April 2016 is the fastest growing charity in Australia.
We are a certified provider of cyber safety programs Nationally by the Office of the Children’s eSafety Commissioner, a preferred provider of bullying prevention programs by schools, workplaces sporting clubs and community groups.
Bully Zero is also one of the only organisations in Australia that continues to deliver the cyber safety/radicalisation prevention program nationally to schools, community groups and sporting clubs.
In addition we are now a partner and the preferred provider for workplace bullying prevention programs by WorkSafe Victoria.
Bully Zero Australia Foundation members are passionate about establishing a zero-tolerance culture of bullying and are committed to working tirelessly to empower, educate and prevent all forms of bullying on a National scale.
The key competitive advantages and differentiators of Bully Zero is the makeup of the people willing to support the Foundation. We have representation from:
The vision of Bully Zero Australia Foundation is to protect and empower Australians to live fulfilling lives free from all forms of bullying.
Bully Zero has an appointed Board of Directors, 4 Committees, Ambassadors and Volunteers. The following structure governs the Foundation:
The mission of Bully Zero Australia Foundation is to provide genuine and enduring care for bullying victims and their families. We exist to identify and empower victims, to support and stand side by side with them, their families and friends in taking action and creating permanent positive behavioural changes.
We are dedicated and committed to raising awareness of bullying and its devastating consequences through schools, workplaces, sporting clubs and community groups. We aim to empower Australians and provide them with hands on educational strategies to prevent bullying.
We are passionate about establishing a zero-tolerance culture of bullying in Australia and will work tirelessly to lobby all forms of government to ensure anti-bullying laws are implemented and enforced Nationally. We stand united in our quest to create a tomorrow where our children and adolescents live fulfilling lives free from all forms of bullying.
Our team of board members, committees, ambassadors and volunteers are dedicated to the Foundations mission, working tirelessly to ensure all requests for bullying support and information are effectively delivered.
To the Halkic, Erkan, Walker, Penpraze, Cleland families and the many more victims, their family and their friends who have lost loved ones, we acknowledge, remember and thank you for supporting the Foundation. Your loved ones have not died in vein.
We are proud to have some fantastic organisations supporting our fight to reduce the pain and suffering endured by thousands of Australians Nationally, to them we say a big thank you.
“Bullying is a huge issue in today’s society, it starts in the school yard and transfers into the workplace, something that I see in my role far too often. One bullying event is too many, it is unacceptable anti-social behaviour that must be stopped. Only by working together will we put an end to bullying once and for all.”
Shane spent more than 20 years in management and leadership positions across a range of sectors and specialty areas including engineering, manufacturing, logistics, construction, training, recruitment and labour hire.
As head of operations and emergency management at WorkSafe Victoria, he played a key role in the regulation of health and safety laws in Victoria for over a decade. He leads a workforce of more than 100 safety inspectors and maintains strong links with industry experts to help employers and workers get home safely.
While compliance is a major priority for his inspectorate, Shane is equally passionate about continually raising awareness of the far-reaching consequences of unsafe workplaces and practices – from the commercial and social impacts to personal devastation for individuals and their loved ones – through proactive stakeholder and community education. Shane is a graduate and member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
“I take a stand against Bullies and invite everyone to join me in eradicating the scourge.”
Tony Carbone is the Managing Partner and co-founder of Nowicki Carbone lawyers, now Nowicki Carbone/Slater and Gordon lawyers. He hosts the firm’s PI and TV law shows on channel 31. Having been in practice for almost 3 decades Tony has a broad experience in law. His particular expertise, passion and interest has always been in personal injury litigation although his breadth of legal and commercial experience is vast. Tony has practiced, estates, commercial litigation, family, succession and criminal law.
He’s a member of the Law Institute of Victoria, Australian Lawyers Alliance and he’s involved in a number of Multicultural Societies. Tony is an integral part of the legal liaison group that meets quarterly to discuss TAC policy issues. Lastly he’s also a committee member in various other organisations in the not-for-profit sector.
Tony brings a wealth of experience and passion to the Board. He has personally represented clients who have been victimised and bullied in the workplace and in various other settings including schools.
“It was the finger nails of a mother who pleaded with me to bring her daughter back that sparked me into action. I felt there was a huge gap in current structures offered by other organisations to respond, educate, prevent and reduce the impact of bullying on Australians!”
Oscar was born in Melbourne and lived in Murray Bridge SA for 8 years. He juggles life as a Moreland City Councillor, Justice of the Peace, CEO, husband and father of 2 young girls. Oscar has twice served as Mayor, won the Australian Small Business Championship Award for training and taught at Primary, Secondary and Tertiary Institutions in Australia and overseas. He was 1 of 9 Mayors selected to serve on the local government ministers advisory panel and in 2014 he was awarded the LaTrobe University distinguished Alumni award. Oscar has a diploma in management, diploma in retail management, certificate IV in workplace training and various other qualifications including a Degree and Diploma of Education.
He was touched by the suicides of young individuals due to bullying, particularly with the passing of Allem Halkic and Sheniz Erkan. Oscar developed and forged relationships with various families and with their support and that of a dedicated board, he developed an anti-bullying organisation that continues to touch thousands.
Oscar works tirelessly to ensure the Foundations vision, mission and strategic plan are delivered. He’s well known to roll up his sleeves and get the job done. He works around the clock and is known for his ability to deliver results consistently. He’s energetic, unselfish, committed and the driving force behind the Foundation. Oscar is a graduate and member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
“As a board member of Bully Zero Australia Foundation I have made a commitment to contribute to the well-being of our children and the wider community. Bullying has and continues to touch us all, I was not prepared to stay idle and watch families being destroyed. I pledge to work cohesively and cooperatively with the entire Bully Zero team.”
As a 2 time former Mayor of the City of Moonee Valley, Narelle was integral in the formation of a community partnership between Bully Zero and the Moonee Valley Council.
Narelle believes the partnership helps advocate the Foundations mission and objectives across the municipality through various activities including the many Council youth events.
Narelle continues to champion bullying messages in her guest speaking roles emphasising a zero tolerance to bullying. She continues to balance life as a Councillor, wife and mother to 2 young girls. Narelle consistently engages in the Foundations many initiatives, expos, events, fundraising dinners and forums. Narelle is a graduate and member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
“If we are to create a safer nation for every generation then immediate action against bullying must be taken through proper and effective education platforms.”
Adam was born and raised in Melbourne, he has exceptional IT skills and has over 8 years’ experience in managing Centorrino Technologies (IT Company located in the North of Melbourne). Adam prioritises the welfare of his workers through recognising that a harmonious and safe workplace is essential for success within his business endeavours.
Adam affirms that bullying is a global issue with its impacts felt in almost all professional and social environments. He has the ability to empathise with individuals and continues to support and contribute to delivering the Foundations vision.
“Bullying touches us all and I empathised as a father of 3 beautiful children with the many parents that have felt helpless and powerless. I joined the Board to be a voice, to empower, inspire and educate Australians about the dangers of bullying.”
Alan is a Chartered Accountant, registered tax agent, registered company Auditor, practicing Accountant and a member of the Taxation Institute of Australia.
Alan began his career as an Auditor with KPMG in 1988. After 3 years with KPMG he joined Boyd Partners in 1991 as a senior Accountant to expand on his taxation, superannuation and consulting career. Alan was later appointed the youngest partner at Boyd Partners at age of 31.
In 2002, Alan departed Boyd partners and is now the sole Director of Australasia Corporate Services Pty Ltd. His reputation for practical business solutions as well as exceptional general skill level has seen Alan recognised as an invaluable all-rounder in the provision of auditing, taxation, superannuation, due diligence and capital raising.
Alan has and currently serves on a number of Boards.
Alan believes that the spurt of technology growth makes it so much easier for our young and vulnerable members of the community to experience bullying. He stands united with the team at Bully Zero to protect and empower Australians.
“If only I understood the impact of Social Media. I thought my son Allem was safe in his bedroom and he couldn’t get hurt. I was wrong and I paid the ultimate price and lost him to cyber bullying. Life will never be the same for me, his mother, friends and our families.”
Ali’s son, Allem was a 17 year old vivacious teenager with a promising future until he tragically fell victim to cyber bullying. Since his death Ali has been strenuously working to educate Australians about the dangers and devastating impact of cyber bullying.
He successfully lobbied the Victorian state government to introduce the barriers on the Westgate Bridge – Melbourne, which have helped prevent hundreds of suicides.
Ali is well respected by the media and various stakeholders, he devotes much of his time to the Foundations vision and continues to assist in the delivery of bullying prevention programs. He is an inspiration and an unselfish individual who empowers so many without any expectation.
“Bullying can often start as a school yard problem, however if we fail to act swiftly and responsibly, it can evolve into a larger social concern. Bullying must not be ignored or underestimated, we all have a moral obligation to respond.”
As a Teacher and Principal at Essendon Keilor College, Niddrie Campus, Heather works closely with students, teachers and parents on individual cases of bullying. She strongly believes that bullying is a wider community problem and is not simply an internal issue that is suffered by schools or workplaces.
Through her community and organisational work, Heather advocates a zero tolerance approach to bullying, reverberating the message that bullying is not an issue of the school playground but rather a significant social issue affecting hundreds and thousands Nationally. She joined the Board to take action against an issue that affects 1 in 5 Australians.
“Employers have a responsibility to provide a workplace free from all forms of bullying, harassment and intimidation. The Foundation delivers effective workshops and seminars to educate workers and employers about the devastating impact bullying can have in the workplace.”
Michael is General Manager of Apprenticeships Matter – a national apprenticeship centre that takes care of thousands of apprentices and trainees Nationally. He’s tasked with the duty of ensuring his apprentices and trainees receive the best possible education to improve and develop their skills and knowledge within a professional environment that is safe and free from all forms of bullying.
Michael pledges to be an active Board member to educate workers, employers, apprentices, trainees and the wider community on acceptable workplace behaviours and practices. Michael has exceptional communication, interpersonal and organisational skills to offer the Foundation.
“As a qualified VIT teacher dealing predominantly with students in junior secondary levels, I witnessed first-hand the impact cyber bullying had on young people. Education is the key to changing the way we deal with bullying and I’m proud to be part of a Foundation that strives to make a genuine difference.”
Michelle is a qualified secondary school teacher and the Head of Community at Essendon Football Club. She was involved in the initial conversations with Oscar when the idea of the Foundation was discussed in early 2012. Essendon Football Club were already delivering an educational program that covered cyber bullying that Michelle had developed. The 2 programs were mapped and it was Michelle who was instrumental in developing a partnership with Bully Zero to ensure an effective evidenced based program was delivered to schools, sporting clubs and community groups.
Michelle believes the impact of bullying on individuals, their family and friends is becoming more prevalent. She would like to see the importance of the upstander become more widely known along with the positive impact they could have on changing the culture of acceptable behaviour. The most powerful group in any bullying situation is the bystander. Michelle believes the only way to stamp out bullying is to have bystanders become upstanders by speaking up and helping the victim.