THIS week (12 – 16 November) is anti-bullying week across the UK, and the NSPCC is sending out information from our Childline database about the issue of bullying among young people.
Katy Cole, NSPCC Schools Service Coordinator in the East of England, said: “Every year thousands of young people receive counselling from us having suffered bullying and cyberbullying. These experiences can have a devastating impact on their lives, potentially leading to low self-esteem, anxiety, depression and in the very worst cases, suicide.
“Whether it’s happening online or in the real world it is vitally important that any young person who is experiencing bullying talks to someone they trust, be it a friend, parent, teacher or a Childline counsellor. We also hope that Anti-Bullying Week encourages young people to remember how their actions and words can impact other children and teenagers.
“Childline is there 24/7 to listen confidentially to any children who may be scared to seek help – 0800 1111.”
Kristo was a victim of an unprovoked attack in January 2018, after he was lured outside by a girl he had met and spoke to online. Known locally, the attackers filmed the attack and posted it on Snapchat, where it went viral. Kristo, who suffered numerous injuries to his head, face and eardrum, has decided to stand up and speak out against bullying.
Kristo can talk about what happened to him, how he felt at the time and how he coped with the bullying. He can also share advice for other young people who may be experiencing something similar. Kristo feels very lucky to have had the support of his father throughout his ordeal, but is very keen to raise awareness of Childline so that no young person is ever left feeling like they have nobody to talk to.
Ashley was born with a rare genetic condition called Treacher Collins syndrome, characterised by deformities of the bones and tissues of the face. When Ashley started primary school near his home, two boys started calling him names, and the abuse gradually got worse. Ashley was afraid of speaking out, fearing retaliation. After an incident that almost cost him his life, he bravely opened up to his mum, who alerted his headmaster. While the bullying came to an end, Ashley says he still faces stares and comments from members of the public.
Now a support worker working with people with learning disabilities, Ashley is speaking out against bullying, particularly those bullied because they suffer facial disfigurement. For a long time Ashley was unable to talk to anyone about what happened to him and wants to encourage young people to reach out to Childline if they feel they have nowhere else to turn.
In 2017/18 Childline delivered 19,681 counselling sessions about bullying and cyberbullying
The majority of counselling sessions about bullying and cyberbullying were with young people aged 12 – 15 years old (47%)
25% of all counselling sessions were with young people aged 11 years and under
When young people under the age of 11 get in touch with Childline, bullying remains the top concern for them