Cheshire’s Anti-Bullying Commission has today (Friday 20 November) released its first report into bullying among under 25s in Cheshire.
It is being released to mark Anti-Bulling Week (16-20 November) and as the latest data from the Office of National Statistics reveals that one in five children experienced some form of online bullying last year, amid warning the problem has worsened during lockdown.
The report is recommending that schools, workplaces and community organisations come together in a united-front against bullying after it found more needs to be done to not only protect victims but also manage the behaviour of bullies themselves.
It has developed a county-wide anti-bullying charter and is urging schools, workplaces and community organisations to sign it to show their commitment to challenging bullying and protecting people in our communities.
Cheshire’s Anti-Bullying Charter is the first time a county-wide pledge has been implemented to tackle bullying. A number of organisations have already signed the Charter, including Cheshire Police, and are among those attending a virtual conference this morning to hear the recommendations.
The Commission was established by police and crime commissioner (PCC) David Keane to look into how public and private sector bodies can do more to tackle bullying.
It brought together representatives from the criminal justice, education and academic sectors as well as informed members of the local community to take a closer look at the issue on behalf of Cheshire residents.
Since it was launched in May 2019, the Commission has spoken to hundreds of people across Cheshire who have experienced bullying. It has also reviewed academic research, serious case reviews and coroner’s reports on suicides where bullying has been a factor.
PCC David Keane said: “I am proud to have set up Cheshire’s first Anti-Bullying Commission and I am proud of the work the Commission has undertaken so far. As a result of this first phase, focused on under 25s, we have identified a set recommendations which I believe can achieve real change for our young people in Cheshire and beyond.
“Through the work of the Commission we have heard some heartbreaking cases of how being bullied at a young age has severely affected people in later life and in some cases, has resulted in suicide or self-harm.
“What our findings have outlined is that tackling bullying is everyone’s business; the only way we are going to halt this bullying epidemic among all generations in our society is by working together to change behaviour and make it unacceptable to target someone simply just for who they are.
“It is crucial that we work together to ensure these are not just words in a report but actions to make a difference for our communities.”
Cheshire Anti-Bullying Commission’s other recommendations to try to reduce bullying and the impact of bullying across Cheshire also include the need for:
- A multi-agency approach to provide early-intervention support for bullying victims and perpetrators of bullying
- A free and anonymous online counselling service for young people across Cheshire
- Schools and local authorities to offer increased education around bullying
- Police to increase their engagement with schools and to raise awareness of when bullying becomes criminal behaviour
- Improved internet safety to make it harder for people to search and access information on self-harm
- A Cheshire-wide campaign to raise awareness of the effects of bullying which includes organisations committing to an Anti-Bullying Charter.
Talking about the Charter, Alan Yates, chair of the Cheshire Anti-Bullying Commission and a former Cheshire head teacher, added: “Cheshire’s Anti-Bullying Charter clearly outlines that bullying will not be tolerated in our communities. It is designed to complement the same principles and standards of anti-bullying work which is already being carried out by education establishments and organisations across Cheshire.
“The signatories commit to doing all they can to not only tackle bullying in their organisations but also helping to raise awareness of the types of bullying that most commonly occur and promoting how to report incidences of bullying safely and without stigma.
“I believe that by working together collectively we can achieve a caring society in which all individuals are afforded the tolerance, respect and support needed to achieve their full potential and live a happy and fulfilled life.”
You can read a full copy of the Cheshire Anti-Bullying Commission phase 1 report and sign the Cheshire Anti-Bullying Charter.