Iain welcomes launch of anti-bullying drive

Iain Gray MSP has welcomed the launch of a new national campaign to address bullying behaviour among Scotland’s young people during Anti-Bullying Week 2020 (16-20 November).

Led by Scotland’s anti-bullying service respectme, #WhatMadeItBetter? launches amid a changing landscape of bullying as a direct result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Time for Inclusive Education ‘Online in Lockdown’ report found that 47% of young people in Scotland reporting that they saw or experienced online bullying during lockdown and 59% witnessing an increase in prejudice-based posts, comments and/or attitudes.

The campaign seeks to empower young people with advice and approaches from those who have experienced bullying, after a consultation with young people and professionals highlighted that the management of bullying related incidents was a key area of concern.

With this in mind, respectme has created a suite of resources for primary and secondary aged children to help approach and guide conversations at a time when learning supervision is has been reduced, while also supporting young people with advice from those who have been there themselves.

Iain Gray MSP said:

“I welcome this new campaign and its clear message that bullying of any kind is completely unacceptable and that young people must be empowered to help prevent and challenge it.

“Anti-Bullying Week is the perfect time to launch the new campaign and accompanying resources which will assist with educating young people about the importance of tolerance, respect, kindness and good citizenship, as well as providing advice to those who have experienced bullying. 

“I hope the campaign will help to highlight to those being bullied that things will get better, and signpost them to where they can access the advice and support they need to help that to happen.”

Wendy Harrington, Director of respectme, said:

“Young people are heavily impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic restrictions, with every aspect of their lives – from school to home to social activities – affected in some way.

“There’s a wealth of evidence highlighting a rise in bullying behaviour since lockdown, particularly in an online setting, which has no time boundary and is difficult to monitor and supervise. This makes Anti-Bullying Week and the campaign all the more poignant as we seek to start the conversation and share valuable advice.

“The #WhatMadeItBetter? resources are free for anyone to explore, and we’d urge adults who have experienced bulling to get involved and help us shape future resources by taking our online survey which looks at what more can be done to support young people.”

Anyone involved in influencing the life of a young person is invited to download the free resources available at www.whatmadeitbetter.com.

Take part in the #WhatMadeItBetter? survey at: www.whatmadeitbetter.com/resources

While the campaign launches during Anti-Bullying Week, it will run across the school year until July 2021 to continuously highlight the options available to young people and remind them that things can and will get better.