LibLink: Jo Swinson: Why the Government is spending £2 million to tackle bullying

This week, Lib Dem Equalities Minister Jo Swinson announced the eight organisations who will receive £2 million of government money to tackle homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying. To accompany that announcement, she wrote an article for Pink News explaining why this money is needed:

Earlier this year singer-songwriter Sam Smith publicly came out and talked openly about being bullied at school. Denying he was gay made the bullying worse and the thing he most hated was how his friends and family heard the names he was called. Fortunately he’s gone on to have a multi-million album selling, Grammy winning career so I think we know who has had the last laugh.

But hindsight is a wonderful thing; bullying can take a terrible toll, have a devastating effect on a young person’s education, isolate them from their peers and damage their self-esteem for life.

How widespread is the problem?

Metro’s Youth Chances Survey found that the vast majority of LGB&T young people experience name-calling or abuse and more than half had experienced either discrimination or harassment. Stonewall has found that an estimated quarter will miss school because of it and the schoolwork of 70,000 will suffer. Some teachers report that homophobic language has become so engrained that the children using it don’t even realise it is offensive. This is an unacceptable situation and one the government is committed to changing.

So what’s being done about it?

This week I announced eight organisations that will receive a share of a £2 million fund for innovative projects to tackle homophobic bullying. These organisations, including Barnardo’s, Diversity Role Models, Stonewall, and Educational Action Challenging Homophobia (EACH), will work across the country to train teachers, provide face-to-face support for victims, and help schools promote inclusiveness throughout the school environment and embed it into their curriculum.

The trauma of being bullied at school can stay with you for life, and it is completely unacceptable that anyone should have to live their life in fear.

You can read the whole article here.

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