Based on the research done towards her Ph.D, she has formulated a programme that articulates the prevailing state of bullying behavior at any particular school, and then makes recommendations for intervention strategies that would enhance the school's ability to provide support to learners, educators and parents.
The motivational evidence of the original study shows that the physical, psychological and emotional well-being of children and youth should not be deemed solely the responsibility of the individual, but also the responsibility of the society in which these children and youth find themselves.
Dr Matthews discusses the background to her work and the philosophy behind the methods used to mitigate the cause and effect of the phenomenon:
We all know someone who is being, or has been bullied, yet we might have experienced a delay in recognising it - possibly attributable to a lack of understanding of the diversity in bullying behaviour.
Today, learners are faced with a mosaic of fundamental challenges, which include social circumstances, and economic conditions at home.
In addition to the schooling system having undergone numerous transformations since democracy in South Africa, there appear to be other particular factors that fuel violence in schools. They include, name-calling, exclusion, physical abuse, rumour-mongering, threats, theft, and messages or incessant video clips via social media. A further cause for concern is the likelihood of a violent incident being the result of periodic, long-term bullying. So bullying should not be considered normative, but a possible marker for more serious attacks.
Mission & Vision
To assess the extent of bullying in a school and, by means of the findings, make appropriate recommendations to inform and refine intervention strategies at classroom and individual level that will be a 'good fit' for each specific school and its local conditions.
In the words of African-American social reformer, abolitionist, orator, writer, and statesman, Frederick Douglass: "It is better to build strong children than to repair broken men..."