One in four children say they are 'frequently' bullied

Written by: Pete Henshaw | Published:
Image: Adobe Stock

A quarter of children say they are frequently victims of face-to-face bullying, with those on free school meals or with SEND more likely to be targeted.

Research published by the Anti-Bullying Alliance (ABA) during Anti-Bullying Week this week, also shows that 6% of children are being frequently bullied online.

Meanwhile, separate research from the Diana Award this week reveals that 83% of children have experienced bullying, with the vast majority stating that the bullying took place within school grounds, and half of those being bullied saying that the focus of the bullying was their appearance.

This year’s Anti-Bullying Week is urging adults to set a better example for our young people and is asking children to “reach out” to trusted friends and adults if bullying occurs.

Anti-Bullying Week is organised by the ABA and offers schools support and resources to help boost anti-bullying work and education.

In a survey of nearly 30,000 pupils – from infant to secondary – in England, conducted by ABA and analysed by Goldsmiths, University of London, 24% of the respondents told researchers they were being frequently bullied face-to-face.

This figure rises to 31% for those with SEND and 30% for those on free school meals.

The research asked about pupils experiences in the last few weeks and finds that both those being bullied and the children who bully others have a bad experience of school life, disliking school, feeling less safe, and having poorer relationships with their teachers.

It also finds that victims have significantly poorer wellbeing, although those who frequently bully others have the poorest wellbeing of all.

To mark this year’s Anti-Bullying Week, the ABA has spearheaded the publication of an open letter calling on all adults to consider the example they are setting to children and young people about how we treat each other.

Martha Evans, director of the ABA, said:“Children and young people need to know there is help out there if they are being bullied or are witnessing bullying. It starts by reaching out to someone you trust if you need to talk. Reaching out to someone you know is being bullied. Reaching out to consider a new approach.

“And it doesn’t stop with young people. From teachers to parents and influencers to politicians, we all have a responsibility to help each other reach out. That is why (we) have written an open letter calling on adults to consider the example they are setting to young people about how we treat each other.

“Whether it is during a Twitter spat, arguments in Parliament, a relationship breakdown on the latest reality television show, or a row on the street, children are too often watching. They are listening and they are learning from us.”

Elsewhere this week, research from the Diana Award and Nationwide has found that 83% of children have experienced bullying, with 84% of the victims saying that it took place in school.

The research, which involved more than 1,000 children aged six to 15, reveals that half of the victims said they were bullied due to their appearance, while 36% were victimised due to social factors. A quarter of the children surveyed also said they had been bullied online.

The research marks the launch of The Positive Post Box campaign, which aims to send hundreds of thousands of letters filled with kind messages to children around the UK.

The initiative will invite primary schools across the UK to encourage children to write letters, sending their own message of positivity to an anonymous pen pal through the Positive Post Box.

Alongside this campaign, Nationwide is working with the Diana Award to train an extra 10,000 Anti-Bullying Ambassadors in more than 660 primary schools across the UK over the next three years.

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