The victims of the assaults that sparked national inquiries into school bullying are still bearing the costs, according to a spokesman for their parents.

David Rutherford, spokesperson for parents of children abused at Hutt Valley High School, told Radio New Zealand their basic concern was the school board and the principal had had no clarity from the ministry (of Education) about what they should be doing about the bullying.

Inquiries by Children's Commissioner Cindy Kiro and the Human Rights Commission were launched after complaints from parents whose children were badly abused at the school.

Police were called in to the school in late 2007 when some Year 9 pupils were seriously assaulted by other students.

Parents complained there were serious systemic failures and children were not being protected. They called for an inquiry into violence and human rights abuses.

Dr Kiro's report was to be released at a schools violence seminar in Wellington today.

In it she said fear of bullying was stopping some children getting an education and the impact of not addressing bullying in schools was far reaching and linked to future difficulties in life.

Chief human rights commissioner Rosslyn Noonan said schools were not taking enough account of the impact of bullying on the victims.

"For example, when a student is disciplined for bullying, violence or abuse at school there's no mandatory requirement that the principal or board consider the impact of their decision on the victim's attendance at school," she told Radio New Zealand.

"So the requirement is that they take account of the perpetrator's right to education, and so they should, but nothing that says they have to have regard to the victim."

Mr Rutherford said a number of the parents had actually moved into the zone for Hutt Valley High School after reading an Education Review Office report which said the school was safe.

The victims of the assaults were bearing the costs still, and some had left the school, he said.

Both reports, in their protocols, said the principal should not investigate allegations of abuse.

"He should call agencies, CYFS or police, who are trained to investigate abuse of that nature; principals and other teachers just can't do it.

"They didn't have systems in place to say `Hey, this is so serious that we shouldn't investigate it'," Mr Rutherford said.

"We found that there were guidelines from the ministry, but we found those guidelines confusing. Most important, they left out the victim."

Mr Rutherford said the Human Rights Commission's approach, actually looking at the rights of the victim and the rights of the offender, was more appropriate.

"The rights of the offender are covered in all sorts of guidelines, the rights of the victim are missing and we've seen that also in the aftermath," he said.

"We were very lucky in the Hutt Valley that once it got to the police, the police went out of their way to help us."

Guidelines had to be clear and not contradict each other, he said.

Victims' rights must be given equal status with the rights of the offender.


Examples of bullying at New Zealand schools, January 1, 2008-January 31, 2009:

A student required hospital treatment after being attacked by four girls.

A student had a fractured eye socket requiring a brain scan.

A student brought a knife to school after receiving threats he would be stabbed.

Victims chased down, partly stripped and sexually violated with objects.

Boarders at a boys' school getting "dry-humped".

A 15-year-old student "stonewalled" by the entire class over a long period of time.

Some of the report's recommendations:

Implement whole school approaches and violence prevention programmes.

Develop crisis procedures for rapid response to serious incidents of violence.

Implement procedures around mobile use at school.

Establish a confidential reporting system for students.

Use police when the need arises.