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Anti-Bullying Week 2023 – Make A Noise About Bullying

November 13th – 17th is Anti-Bullying week 2023 and this year’s theme is ‘Make A Noise About Bullying’. Founded by the Anti-Bullying Alliance, anti-bullying week was established to encourage schools, parents, children and caregivers to come together and discuss the issue of bullying. 

At Focus Foster Care, we are dedicated to helping children to enjoy their childhoods as much as possible and we are all too aware that looked after children are one of the more vulnerable groups when it comes to bullying. This Anti-Bullying Week, we are sharing some eye-opening statistics about looked after children and foster care and also have a list of places children can turn to for support.

Make a Noise About Bullying

Bullying can be a difficult topic to discuss with all children, but it can be a particularly challenging conservation for foster carers to have with the children in their care. Children and young people may struggle to open up to their foster carers and can find it difficult to talk about negative experiences that have happened in school. 

Looked after children and young people may have experienced a traumatic or difficult past and talking about being bullied can be extremely upsetting. Sometimes, children may not fully understand that they are being bullied by their peers and things like ‘banter’ or ‘teasing’ can escalate into something more hurtful.  

This Anti-Bullying Week, the ABA are encouraging people to get talking about bullying and to define what being bullied means. Bullying isn’t always physical and unkind words can have a lasting impact on a child’s confidence and self esteem. It is time to make a noise about bullying and help the children in your care to understand the difference between right and wrong and to make them aware that help is also available if they need it.

Bullying & Looked After Children Statistics

All humans on the planet are unique and special. While our differences should be celebrated, they are often seen as an easy target for bullies. Unfortunately, being in care or living with a fostering family is a difference that bullies can use to their advantage. It is a sad truth that any child can be bullied but looked after children are more at risk, simply because they are not currently living with their birth families. 

Here are some enlightening statistics about bullying and children in foster care, shared by the Anti-Bullying Alliance:

  • Looked after children experience twice the level of bullying than other children in primary years- 38% vs 19%
  • Looked after children experience four times the level of bullying than other children in secondary years – 36% vs 9% 
  • Children who are looked after and living away from home are particularly vulnerable (Smith, P.K. (2008) ABA Briefing Bullying Among Looked After Children) and may face discrimination from other children at school and in the community, simply because they are looked after.
  • Evidence suggests that bullying is more prevalent as looked after children get older and it has been found that look after children aged 14 years were 1.56 times more likely to be bullied than those who had not been in care
  • At 15 years of age, looked after children are 1.72 times more likely to be bullied at age 15 
  • 16 years in foster care are 1.75 times more likely to be bullied than children of the same age who are not living away from home 
  • A 2003 Social Exclusion Unit report found that 60% of the looked after children who were consulted reported being bullied at school, compared with just 10% of all other pupils.

Bullying Helplines

If a child in your care is being bullied, there are several organisations you can turn to for help and advice. As a Focus foster carer, you have access to our 24 hour helpline and our dedicated social workers are available to offer professional advice and support. We are at the other end of the phone during a crisis or you can contact us regarding any concerns you may have about the child in your care. Speaking to teachers and school staff is a great place to start and of course offering your child a listening ear and shoulder to cry on whenever needed is important. 

If you need further advice or the child in your care wants to speak to someone, the ABA recommends the following helpines:

ChildLine – 0800 1111

Direct Gov – This website has Information for young people about bullying in school and online. There is advice on what to do if you are being bullied and how to make it stop. 

EACH – 0808 1000 143 – a helpline  for children experiencing homophobic, biphobic or transphobic bullying or harassment.

Victim Support –  08 08 16 89 111 –  The Children and Young People’s (CYP) Service deals with cases of bullying and provides support, making sure children get the help they need.

Anti-Bullying Training For Foster Carers

It can be difficult to know what to do if a child in your care is being bullied, and therefore we encourage all our foster carers to complete the anti-bullying training that we offer in our foster carer hub training bundle. Completion of this training is not mandatory, but we would encourage all our foster carers to complete the course.

The anti-bullying course in the training hub covers several topics, including:

  • Bullying Facts and Stats
  • The Impact of Bullying
  • Types of bullying
  • Signs of bullying
  • How to stop bullying
  • Helping victims

This Anti-Bullying Week, we encourage all of our foster carers and families in our community to talk about bullying. Make sure the children you look after know that they will never have to face being bullied alone, that you are there to support them and will advocate for their happiness and safety. 
Make A Noise About Bullying this Anti-Bullying Week and always remember to teach the children in your life about the importance of kindness. To learn more about Anti-Bullying Week and access a wide range of free resources, visit the Anti-Bullying Alliance website.