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Listen to young people to help stop bullying

From 13-17 November, schools, organisations and youth groups across Scotland will be participating in Anti-Bullying Week 2023.

Lorraine Glass, Interim Director at Scotland’s Anti-Bullying Service respectme, explains how this year’s #ListenUp campaign encourages adults to actively listen to children and young people so that they can provide effective responses to bullying.

Bullying is an issue that leaves few of us untouched, whether we have seen it, done it, or had it done to us.

The impact of bullying can be profound and can have serious short and long term effects on the physical, emotional and mental wellbeing of children and young people. Children need to be protected from bullying behaviour so that they can survive, develop and participate in a fulfilling life.

When we respond to bullying incidents, children and young people are watching and listening intently. Are we taking it seriously? Do we take time to listen, or are we too busy? Will we listen to and include what they want to happen in any action that is taken? Will we consider the full consequences of that action?

In helping us to co-design our latest anti-bullying campaign, young people shared their own experiences of not feeling heard when they reported bullying to an adult. They wanted to adults to actively listen, to take children and young people seriously, to know that bullying is a violation of children’s rights, and to place those rights at the heart of all effective responses to bullying.

As an adult, your response to a bullying situation is an opportunity to show the young people in your life that we are there to support them, and to tell them that bullying is never acceptable – it is not a “normal” part of growing-up and it is not something they need to put up with. On behalf of respectme and the members of the Youth Action Group, we are calling on adults involved in the lives of children and young people to ‘Listen Up!’ and take action for Anti-Bullying Week 2023 by pledging to our ‘5 Step Action Plan’.

Click here to access the pledge, toolkits and learning resources:

About the author

Lorraine Glass is Interim Director at respectme, Scotland's Anti-Bullying Service

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Listen Up!

Find out more about the 'Listen Up!' campaign ahead of Anti-Bullying Week 2023

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The national advice and information service for additional support for learning

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A website to help you understand children's rights to be supported and involved in decisions

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