Taking a bite out of bullying

School-age bullying is a serious societal concern that affects the lives of half of the UK’s children and young people. Going to school can be fun, but it can be stressful too – learning new concepts, taking standardised tests, making new friends, then perhaps losing some of those friends and negotiating your way in the world for the first time.

Add bullying to the mix, and the pressures multiply exponentially.

Most school-age children want to be liked by their peers, but being subjected to taunts and mockery unnecessarily sullies a child’s learning environment by adding daily anxiety and uncertainty about what will happen from one day to the next.

BulliesOut aims to initiate and support efforts to create a safe, healthy and learning community which recognises, respects and celebrates diversity. A key theme is creating an environment that improves the social, emotional and academic wellbeing across settings where children and young people, parents and professionals alike feel confident in dealing with bullying and have faith that appropriate action will be taken if instances are reported.

The programme objectives of the charity are simply; EATS:

Education: Through our innovative, interactive workshops and training programmes, they utilise energy and enthusiasm to focus on awareness, prevention, building empathy and positive peer relationships – crucial in creating a nurturing environment in which young people and staff can thrive.

Awareness: Bullying is often talked about but can also be misunderstood. Developing a fuller awareness of how bullying can manifest, how it can be prevented and how it should be dealt with, will help both sufferers and perpetrators disengage from the bullying cycle.

Training: BulliesOut provides unique and interactive training courses for youth, parents, education professionals and the workplace. Their training can be delivered in-house or through open courses, exploring a range of anti-bullying themes.

Support: Children and young people who are bullied or bullying need support and specific, practical tools to move beyond the position they find themselves in. BulliesOut is a time-limited, solution focused anti-bullying service which provides just that.

Through their educational programmes BulliesOut work with over 7,000 young people each year. They have set up peer mentoring schemes in over 200 schools, introducing this valuable resource indirectly to approximately 200,000 young people.

“Our interactive and engaging workshops have been delivered to over 40,000 young people and we have mentored nearly 3,000 individuals,” says spokesperson Linda James MBE. “In 2014, we introduced the opportunity to achieve a Youth Achievement Award into some of our work and have since recognised over 500 young people with this achievement.

“We simply cannot under-estimate the damage that bullying does to a person’s academic, social, physical and emotional health and well-being. We only seem to have awareness and campaigns when a young suicide or a severe case occurs and after just a short time, it moves on. Yet bullying doesn’t move on. It’s with us each and every day, 24/7 along with the pain, trauma and devastating impact.

“Yet despite the scale of suffering, one in three adults still view bullying as a routine rite of passage and 16% describe it as ‘character-building’. How many more young people have to tragically lose their lives before these outdated perceptions change?”

Whilst funding is always a challenge, BulliesOut has developed and grown at an exponential rate, with their work and reputation being more and more widely recognised. They’ve also established direct, long-term relationships with hundreds of individuals, schools, youth and community settings across the UK.

For further help, support or information about their work, visit: www.bulliesout.com.