The Anti-Bullying Alliance (ABA), based at the National Children’s Bureau, have announced the theme for this year’s national Anti-Bullying Week as “Let’s stop bullying for all”.
There have been vast improvements in the way schools, parents and young people tackle bullying. Nonetheless, there is a wealth of evidence suggesting that some groups of children remain significantly more likely to experience bullying in schools, and the wider community, than others. Among those who suffer bullying disproportionately are children with special educational needs: London University’s Institute of Education reports that they are twice as likely as other children to suffer from persistent bullying.
Acting National Coordinator of the Anti-Bullying Alliance, Martha Evans, said: “Eighty-three per cent of young people with learning difficulties having suffered bullying and over 90 per cent of parents of children with Asperger Syndrome having reported the bullying of their child in the previous year.
“Ultimately, bullying is a behaviour choice, one which parents, carers, teachers and the community must work together to change at grass roots level… Now is the time for children and young people to take the lead on changing behaviour.”
This Anti-Bullying Week – 17-21st November 2014 – the Anti-Bullying Alliance are calling on young people to take the lead on creating a future which is free from bullying for all, where difference and diversity are welcomed, and everychild feels safe and valued.
This year the Anti-Bullying Alliance have joined forces with Random House Children’s Publishers UK, and author R. J. Palacio (‘WONDER’). Together, they will aim to raise awareness of the campaign – “let’s stop bullying for all” – through a young person’s writing competition in schools and colleges across England.
The competition aims to encourage young people to get involved with the campaign throughout the summer months, in the build up to Anti-Bullying Week, and includes two age categories: 8 – 12 years and 13 – 18 years. Entrants are required to write a short story, blog, news article or poem of no more than 500 words, which describes their vision of a world where everyone is treated equally, and bullying has been eradicated.
Speaking about the competition, author R. J. Palacio said: “I cannot wait to see… how young people envisage a world where bullying no longer exists.”
The top entries will be shared through the Random House UK social networking sites and the Anti-Bullying Alliance website. The successful applicant in each age category will have the opportunity to personally select their own collection of titles, while a further fifty books will be awarded to their school or college from Random House UK. In addition, the winner will receive a signed copy of WONDER, which will feature a personal letter from author R.J. Palacio.