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Looking down the lens to stop bullying in its tracks

Katie Ferguson, Director of respectme, Scotland’s Anti-Bullying Service, on how to create positive anti-bullying strategies informed by children and young people, and the short film competition helping to make that happen.

We know that young people’s voices are vital in effectively addressing bullying. After a challenging year for everyone, especially our children and young people, we began the 2021-22 academic year by creating a national platform for young people across Scotland to have their voices heard and creatively engage with our ‘What Made It Better?’ campaign.

We have been delighted to work in partnership with the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland’s Junior Conservatoire of Film to create our Young Filmmaker Competition, which launched at the end of August. Our collective vision has been to provide educational settings and youth groups with the opportunity to connect and engage with their young people on themes of bullying prevention and anti-bullying strategies, as well as providing engaging resources and guides to support the filmmaking process.

Over the past two months, young people have been joining forces and building new relationships with classmates and educators to collectively look down the lens and explore our competition theme – the things that can help ‘make it better’ for people experiencing bullying.

We are thrilled to be celebrating all our shortlisted and winning films this Anti-Bullying Week and in doing so we put the experiences and creativity of our young people right at the heart of our week of action. Sharing their stories about the little or the big things that can make life better, we’ll be showcasing the films across our social channels on Tuesday 16 November.

The theme of this year’s Anti-Bullying Week is ‘One Kind Word’ which sits alongside our ‘What Made It Better’ campaign. As well as showcasing strong and insightful youth voices sharing anti-bullying solutions, the theme of the week allows us to shine the light on kindness which is hugely important in breaking down bullying behaviours. Despite the many challenges and restrictions on our lives in recent times, what was clear was the power of a strong sense of community and kind behaviour.

Culture and ethos are crucial to addressing bullying; it is unable to flourish in a society where kindness and respect are core values. During the week, we will be highlighting the role each of us can play and how even the smallest acts of kindness can alter the direction of someone’s life.

This year, let’s remind ourselves of the power of kindness, and how it can halt hurtful behaviour in its tracks and break the cycle of bullying. Together, with #OneKindWord, let’s start a chain reaction of kindness this #AntiBullyingWeek.

Click here to access respectme’s latest campaign information and resources for Anti-Bullying Week.

About the author

Katie Ferguson is the Director of respectme

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25 Calls

Call 16: Work together to build cultures where every voice is valued, and create a society free from bullying

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Article 2: "...the right to be protected from direct and indirect discrimination."

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