Missing school, self-harming and having suicidal thoughts prompt anti-bullying event

A girl getting bullied at school. Picture: NSPCC

A girl getting bullied at school. Picture: NSPCC - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Young people who claimed schools 'just didn't care' when it came to bullying have sparked positive action.

Dereham Memorial Hall. Picture: STUART ANDERSON

Dereham Memorial Hall. Picture: STUART ANDERSON - Credit: Archant

An anti-bullying conference has been organised to help tackle the problem and will see young people aged between 11-25 join forces with professionals from around Norfolk to discuss change.

It comes following an annual youth consultation lead by Norfolk Youth Against Bullying (YAB) in 2018.

The results showed that young people across the county believed that the problem was on the rise. And further consultations revealed that the majority felt their schools were not doing enough to stop bullying, very few offered good quality support to those who had experienced it, or that schools "just didn't care".

When asked about the effects of bullying, responses included missing or changing schools, anxiety, self-harm, depression and suicidal thoughts and behaviours.

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A spokesperson for Norfolk YAB said: "An increase in bullying in Norfolk may lead to a greater risk of poor mental health among young people. It is vital that those working with young people collaborate to tackle bullying in order to promote good mental health in Norfolk schools."

In May, young commissioners from Breckland YAB partnered up with The Diana Award Trust, the Ofsted-recognised provider of anti-bullying training, to deliver free sessions to 100 secondary school students and staff across Norfolk.

Then in June, Breckland, West Norfolk and Broadland young commissioners attended the World Anti-Bullying Forum in Dublin, in Ireland, with the aim of encouraging dialogue around the issue of bullying, share learning, and to understand how everyone can be part of the solution.

In order to share what they learnt, the young commissioners decided to hold the Norfolk Anti-Bullying Conference to provide an opportunity for young people to work with senior members of their schools and local communities to take action against bullying and drive change.

- The Norfolk Youth Against Bullying Conference will take place on November 7 at Dereham Memorial Hall, on Norwich Street. Tickets are free for young people and £10 for professionals via the website Eventbrite here . Lunch will be provided and one adult must be present for every four young people.

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