New Service To Stamp Out Bullying

Helping organisations that work with children and young people deal quickly and effectively with bullying – wherever it arises – is one of the key aims for the Scottish Executive’s new anti-bullying service: Respectme.

For the first time, the focus of the service is being extended beyond the school gates to help all organisations working with children to tackle bullying.

Education Minister Hugh Henry, who launched Respectme in Glasgow yesterday, said: “Bullying is always unacceptable – making some young people’s lives a misery – and must be tackled wherever, and whenever, it arises. Bullies don’t respect boundaries and that’s why we have extended our anti-bullying services to help all organisations, not just schools, work together to stamp it out.

“Bullying is actually more likely to take place outwith the classroom – perhaps on the school bus or at the youth club – and today’s youngsters also have the potential problems of cyber and text bullying to contend with.

“Respectme will help all those working with children to develop solutions to deal with these situations, ensuring our youngsters get the support and help they need, when they need it.”

Brian Donnelly, director of Respectme, said: “It’s every child’s right not to be bullied and Respectme’s vision is of a society where children can live free from bullying and harassment. We will work with people from a wide variety of backgrounds who come into contact with children and young people, to give them the confidence and competence to deal with children who are being bullied and those who are bullying others.”

In its first year, Respectme will:

  • Develop a toolkit to help organisations develop anti-bullying policies
  • Provide training to help organisations implement their policies
  • Carry out a national assessment of anti-bullying policies
  • Share best practice and anti-bullying resources

Respectme will not provide help directly to those being bullied but will work with organisations working with children to help them develop effective anti-bullying strategies.

The Executive provides £144,000 to Childline Scotland to fund their dedicated bullying helpline which offers support directly to those affected. The number is 0800 441111.

The independent Anti-Bullying Leadership Group, established in 2005 and made up of professionals from a wide range of organisations, considered a number of proposals before recommending that the contract should be awarded to Respectme.

The contract is for five years with funding of £350,000 per annum for the first three years. Funding will be reviewed thereafter.