Barnardo's Cymru survey: Call for more action over bullying

Image caption The charity said its survey showed the issue of bullying was at the forefront of children's minds

More than half of children in Wales have witnessed bullying based on disability, sexuality or cultural background, says Barnardo's Cymru.

The charity wants schools to improve their response to the issue after 84% of those surveyed wanted more be done.

Some questioned said many children were resigned to bullying and felt nothing was going to stop it.

The Welsh government said all schools in Wales must have an anti-bullying strategy in place.

Barnardo's Cymru sent out an online questionnaire between September and November, and published the results on Monday to mark the start of Anti-Bullying Week.

It said it received 644 responses mainly from schoolchildren, youth groups and users of the charity's services.

Almost six out of 10 respondents said they had witnessed bullying due to sexuality, disability and special needs, and 51% because of race or cultural background.

Ability to learn

Vikki Butler, Barnardo's Cymru policy and research officer, said the strong response showed the issue of bullying was "very serious and at the forefront of children's minds".

"If we are to reduce bullying and tackle it effectively we need to believe the accounts of children and young people, and free schools from the stigma that comes with acknowledging bullying," she said.

"The comments indicate once again that the Welsh government's schools anti-bullying guidance Respecting Others - published back in 2003 and updated in 2011 - has not been effectively implemented across schools."

The charity said research showed that bullying among children and young people affected their confidence, ability to learn and capacity for friendships.

Social media could add to this, with constant texting and messaging making the child or young person feel attacked within their own home, it said.

"Many schoolchildren that are being bullied could be saved from horrific experiences if there was more support," said Ms Butler.

"There are anti-bullying resources currently delivered by numerous organisations in different parts of Wales but it would make sense for one central resource to be available for teachers and others working with children and young people. This should be supported by a national anti-bullying action plan."

In response, a Welsh government spokesperson said: "Bullying of any kind is totally unacceptable and all schools in Wales must have an anti-bullying strategy in place.

"We have taken a number of steps to help schools manage bullying including Respecting Others - a suite of comprehensive anti-bullying guidance to help schools put in place effective strategies to prevent, respond to, monitor and record bullying.

"We have also made £530,000 available to local authorities for behaviour management training for teachers, including specific anti-bullying interventions, and we are strengthening opportunities for newly-qualified teachers..."

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