Most young people think bullying should be a criminal offence, says Beatbullying

Bullying should be made a crime according to 80 per cent of young people who responded to a survey conducted by charity Beatbullying.

In a poll of 150 young people aged 11 to 16 through the charity’s Cyber Mentors website, 71 per cent said they felt unsafe at school with 17 per cent admitting they would consider carrying a weapon to keep themselves safe.

A further half said that they thought their schools would take no action if they reported incidents of bullying and 48.5 per cent have deliberately truanted for fear of being bullied.

Emma-Jane Cross, chief executive of Beatbullying, said: “For such a large number of our children and young people to fear for their safety either in school or online is utterly unacceptable and there must be action now before lives are destroyed and even lost.”

The research comes ahead of the charity’s Big March, an online protest which will culminate in the charity delivering a “virtual petition” to the Prime Minister asking the government to help protect children and young people from all forms of bullying and harassment.

Cross added: “The Big March gives those with an opinion on child safety a chance to sign up and show their support in asking government to continue their promise of working towards a time when children and young people will be free from fear, abuse and violence from their peers.”

The march will take place on 15 November at the start of Anti-Bullying Week and will involve avatars created by children, parents, teachers and celebrities including Michael Parkinson and Alesha Dixon, which will march across partner websites including YouTube and Facebook.