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The Annual Bullying Survey 2014

The Annual Bullying Survey 2014 provides an in-depth and thought-provoking insight into the current climate of bullying within the United Kingdom. Our research has highlighted key areas of concern, along with the key demographic profiles most at risk of bullying and the varying impact that bullying is having upon the lives of millions of young people from across the country.

Our statistics highlight the significance of certain aspects of bullying in young peoples’ lives; with the majority of young people claiming to have been bullied as a direct result of the attitudes towards their appearance, weight or body shape. Appearance related bullying is something that young people are finding incredibly personal and is having a significant and potentially long-term impact upon their self-esteem.

In addition, we found that young people currently have strong prejudice-based ideas and beliefs; namely on the basis of sexuality, race, disability, gender identity and culture. When combined together, prejudice based bullying accounted as the second most frequent basis of attack. We found that young people were less willing to incorporate students who are transgendered, autistic, those with a learning disability or those who do not look or dress favourably. Our data suggests that young people with experiences of bullying were less likely to hold prejudice-based beliefs than those who had not which may indicate higher rates of empathy towards others. We were concerned to find that from those who had experienced bullying, 30% had self harmed, 30% had suicidal thoughts and 10% have tried to kill themselves as a direct result of bullying. Other common reactive behaviours included truancy, anti-social behaviour and the abuse of drugs or alcohol.

We found a direct correlation between self-reported grades and bullying, indicating that those who have experienced bullying are less likely to achieve A* and A grades than those who have never been bullied. In addition, 56% of bullied students consciously felt that bullying was having a negative impact on their studies.

Bullying is having a profound impact upon the self-esteem, social lives, optimism and studies of millions, which as many of us know, can extend beyond the school gates and continue to impact people throughout adult life.

Our research highlights the extreme impact that bullying is currently having on young people studying in schools and colleges in the United Kingdom. There is now an urgent need for action. It is my hope that our research, message and intervention programmes will be used not only to raise awareness of the severity attached to bullying but also help us to reframe the prejudices and perceptions within wider society.