Guidance and training video launched in bid to tackle bullying of young carers

Written by: Pete Henshaw | Published:

New guidance and a training video have been released to support school staff when working with young carers.

Research has shown that more than two-thirds of young carers report being bullied, while more than a quarter say they are bullied specifically because of their caring role.

The new resources have been issued by the Carers Trust charity which has worked with young carers themselves and the organisation Devon Carers to produce the practical guidance.

Michelle, a young adult carer aged 21 from Devon, said that her bullying began early in primary school.

She explained: “People would bully me and say my mum was a drug addict because she has diabetes and has to inject insulin every day. I learned to be protective of my mum and isolated myself – I didn’t have many friends. By the age of 16, the bullying got really bad and I had severe stress-induced seizures.

“Without the support and guidance offered to me through my local young carers group in Devon, I would never have moved forward from one of the most difficult periods of my life.”

The aim of the new guide and accompanying film is to help professionals working with young carers in youth services, sports centres, community clubs and schools to have improved understanding of how caring for a family member may increase the susceptibility of a young person to being bullied.

Gail Scott-Spicer, chief executive of Carers Trust, said: “Having to deal with bullying on top of their already challenging lives can have a devastating impact on young carers.

“We know young carers are missing on average 10 weeks of school a year as a direct result of their caring role – with the added emotional turmoil of coping with bullying, these children are doubly disadvantaged.

“We listened to young carers who told us about the devastating impact bullying had on them, and produced this guidance so professionals can take swift action to nip this behaviour in the bud, and put structures in place to stop young carers becoming socially isolated from their peers.”

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