Anti-bullying week 2020 – United against bullying.
This week is Anti-bullying week, an event organised by Anti-Bullying Alliance. Anti-bullying week aims to address the issue of bullying and provide support, information and guidance for schools, parents, cares and children.
The theme this year is United Against Bullying and the week began with Odd Socks Day, an opportunity for children to celebrate their differences and individualism.
Bullying can happen to any child and young person but there are certain groups that are at a higher risk. Discriminative views and racism are sadly present amongst children and young people, resulting in children who don’t conform to conventional norms or appear different in some way to be picked on for their differences. LGBT+ young people, BAME children, children with special educational needs and children who look different in some way are particularly vulnerable to bullying.
Children in foster care can also find themselves targeted by bullies and this can happen for several reasons. As their family circumstances are often considered ‘different’ or ‘strange’ to their peers, looked after children are particularly vulnerable to verbal abuse from bullies. Anti-bullying Alliance reported that children in care experienced twice the level of bullying in primary school than their peers and four times the level of bullying compared to other students in secondary school*.
Why do children in care experience higher levels of bullying?
Bullies often latch on to something that makes a person different and use this difference as ammunition for their abuse. If a looked after child is new to a school following a new placement, has not made friends yet, or has low confidence and self-esteem following previous trauma and abuse, they can find themselves in a very vulnerable position. Anti-bullying Alliance found that looked after children are often reluctant to share with classmates and teachers that they are in foster care as they have previously been subjected to negative stereotyping. As a result of bullying, 10% of care leavers have reported feelings of loneliness as young adults and research shows 5% do not feel like they have a single good friend in school*.
Support and guidance for parents, foster carers and children.
The Anti-bullying Alliance website is packed with advice and support if you are in need of information on how to spot the signs of bullying, advice on cyberbullying or require guidance on how to help if your child is being bullied. You can find tips on how to talk to your child about bullying and there are tools and research covering all the areas and forms of bullying.
No one should ever be bullied, educating children about kindness and acceptance, and teaching them to celebrate diversity and differences is of paramount importance. ChildLine are currently running a campaign called No one is Normal, this shares a similar purpose to OddSocks Day. Everyone is different and these differences should not be seen as bait for bullying, they should be celebrated. This Anti-Bullying Week let’s all stand united and work together to put a stop to bullying.
Statistics and information sourced from Anti-Bullying Alliance – https://www.anti-bullyingalliance.org.uk/tools-information/all-about-bullying/groups-young-people-more-likely-experience-bullying/looked-0
In a world where you can be anything, be kind.Anonymous
To find out more about fostering and how to become a foster carer with our independent fostering agency, please read the following pages on our website:
Types of foster care.
Who can foster?
How to become a foster carer with Focus Foster Care.
Fostering – frequently asked questions.
The benefits of fostering with Focus Foster Care.