“Anyone who commits bullying will be punished with imprisonment of at least six months.” This is the reaction of the Greek government to the tragic death of the first “official” victim of bullying in the country, Vaggelis Giakoumakis. The 20-year-old student committed suicide last month being unable to bear further the humiliation and the psychological and physical torture by a group of his fellow students. Vaggelis’ decomposed boy was found after 38 days, on Monday near his school.
Victim of bullying: Vaggelis Giakoumakis
As there is a legal vacuum in the legislation about bullying, the government added a provision into a draft bill concerning the high security prisons. The provision foresees:
at least six months punishment for those committing bullying – unless the act is punishable with a heavier penalty.
six months imprisonment to those who maliciously neglected their duties and did not prevent the bullying.
For children below 18 years old, there is also punishment for the guardian who commits bullying whether at home or at work place.
Under “bulling” the Greek legislator understands “repeatedly cruel behavior against a their party, causing bodily harm or other harm to the physical or mental health of the victim.”
The legislation has been imminent after the legal experts stressed that the group that had targeted Vaggelis Giakoumakis for almost two years could go without punishment due to lack of legislation about cases of bullying.
What it is interesting is that the legislator also punishes “education personnel” for not preventing the bullying.
It is a legislation that is in fact based on the incidents at the Dairy School of Ioannina city of Northern Greece, where Giakoumakis was studying. There are a lot of questions about the school director and the personnel who did not do much to stop the violence to which Vaggelis was exposed to.
According to Greek media, the director had sought counseling per telephone but without mentioning that there was a specific case in this school.
KTG understands that the teaching personnel has also no training to deal with cases of bullying.
May Vaggelis Giakoumakis be the first and the last victim of bullying. He could be our son, our brother, our grandson, our nephew, our godchild, our friend, our children’s friend…