Bullying at 'epidemic proportions'
An anti-bullying charity has found that young people feel the current levels of education and support for victims of bullying are not sufficient.
The latest figures from Brighton-based organisation Ditch The Label, which surveyed more than 10,000 people online aged between 13 and 22, showed evidence of a crisis in support for young people.
The charity, which has published its findings today at the start of Anti-Bullying Week, found that 42% of young people want more education on minority groups and equality, while 38% said they wanted to see an increase in education about effects of bullying on young people.
The survey, which was run in partnership with social networking site Habbo Hotel, received 67% of their responses from the UK, 17% from the USA, 12% from Australia and 4% from other countries.
Increased legislation and accessibility to the law, stricter policies in schools and colleges, and anonymous online support services were also high on the agenda for those affected, the charity said.
Up to 40% of people said they wanted more support available online, while 36% said they did not believe there was enough support offline.
Just under a third of those questioned said they wanted help and support to be given to the bullies.
The latest findings were put to young people as part of Ditch the Label's first ever Annual Cyberbullying Survey, which revealed that 69% of young people have been victims of cyber-bullying.
The new figures relate to questions put to young people about bullying in general, not just cyber- bullying.
Liam Hackett, founder of Ditch the Label, said: "Our recent survey illustrates that bullying and cyber- bullying in particular, are reaching epidemic proportions.
"Almost half of the young people we surveyed need more education on bullying and more support for the victims.
"Radical new approaches need to be taken to counteract a problem that has profound and long lasting effects on young people in the UK."
Ditch the Label is a national anti-bullying charity delivering support to thousands of vulnerable young people both online and offline.
It provides a virtual Bullying Support Centre for the social networking service Habbo Hotel, which is accessed by more than 30,000 teens worldwide each week.
In addition, they work closely with British schools and colleges providing them with research and advice on key issues.
The Annual Bullying Survey and the Annual Cyberbullying Survey can be found at www.ditchthelabel.org.
:: Case Study (with pic)
Father-of-one Robert Mills was bullied so badly he says he contemplated suicide at the age of 11.
The 23-year-old, from Coatbridge, Scotland, said he was beaten up and had to endure urine being poured over his head.
He said: "When I was younger I was diagnosed with congenital scoliosis and I have Asperger syndrome- like qualities.
"The bullying started when I was at primary school.
"Initially, I didn't realise what was happening to me.
"The bullies were weeding their way through the school, finding out who they thought was the weakest.
"I was bullied emotionally and physically.
"I was trolled, beaten up, abused and word-played by these bullies.
"They left me morally destroyed and at 11-years-old I contemplated suicide.
"Until I left school I was bullied every single day.
"People even peed into a can of Irn Bru and poured it over my head.
"There was no support available to me at primary school and I couldn't even open up to my mother.
"I made up excuses for the bullies.
"I didn't know what to do or where to turn."
Mr Mills said his mother reported the bullying to the head teacher who spoke to the perpetrators but the abuse only stopped for a day and then became 10 times worse.
He said: "At the age of 16 I left to go to college.
"At college I met a group of people and I started doing drugs.
"The drugs got worse day-by-day.
"I was a millimetre away from taking heroin but managed to get into rehab which turned things around for me.
"I really believe that young people need to be made more aware of the support that is available to them.
"There needs to be more education about bullying in school and people who are bullied need to know they are not alone."
Education Minister Elizabeth Truss said: " We will not tolerate any form of bullying in schools.
"No child should have to suffer the fear and victimisation of bullying. Every school must have measures in place by law to prevent it and thanks to our new curriculum, children will soon be taught how to stay safe online, including cyber-bullying, from the age of five.
"We have strengthened the powers teachers have to tackle bullying. They can search pupils for banned items, delete inappropriate images from phones and give out same day detentions.
"We are also providing more than £4m to a range of anti-bullying organisations to help schools develop strategies to tackle the problem and deal with the impact when it occurs."