The Egyptian parliament has approved an amendment to the country’s penal code to criminalise bullying in the North African country.
According to a report by Daily News Egypt, the new Article 309 defines bullying as any show of strength or control by the offender, as well as exploitation of the weakness of the victim or of a situation that the bully believes would offend the victim.
Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly approved the draft law in July, Daily News Egypt reported.
The law sets the punishment for perpetrators at no less than six months’ imprisonment and a fine of between $600 (R10 374) and $1 800, or either of these two penalties.
According to a 2018 report by the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef), research shows that groups who are most often targeted by bullies and their abusive behaviour tend to be children who are different in appearance, cultural or religious background, social status or have health issues or disabilities.
Other children who fall victim to bullies are the super-achievers, exceptionally gifted or those who receive significant attention; shy and introverted children who are less likely to speak out or are more likely to feel intimidated; and those who are quiet and peaceful.
Children newly arrived to a community as well as those who recently moved to a new school or team could also be susceptible bullying.
Egypt has recently started to take steps to raise public awareness about the negative impact of bullying on children and society, reported news publication Al-Ahram.