Friday, 19 November 2010
NEWS FROM BEATBULLYING
OVER THREE QUARTERS OF A MILLION PEOPLE JOIN BEATBULLYING FOR THE BIG MARCH – WORLD’S FIRST ONLINE PROTEST FOR CHILDREN’S RIGHTS
DIGNITARIES, CELEBRITIES AND WORLD LEADERS JOIN BEATBULLYING TO URGE GOVERNMENT TO HELP PROTECT YOUNG VICTIMS OF BULLYING, HARRASSMENT AND ABUSE
Monday, 15th November – Beatbullying marks the start of Anti-Bullying Week with The Big March: the world’s first virtual protest march for children’s rights.
Digital campaigning history will be made today at 8am when the first virtual demonstrators cross the Beatbullying website. Protesters including Archbishop Desmond Tutu, key figures from the private, charity and public sectors, celebrities and teachers and over a hundred parliamentarians will march alongside tens of thousands of children and young people who have had enough of being bullied, harassed, intimidated, beaten up and violated.
An off line Deputation with children and the families of the victims of bullying will then take place with the Deputy Prime Minster Nick Clegg on Wednesday 17th November.
Throughout the day on Monday 15th, avatars of the marchers (who can be viewed on http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8UL-eEtXjJs) will make their way across over sixty partner websites, including MSN, Action for Children, NetMums, MTV, the Office of the Children’s Commissioner and AOL in the first digital connected takeover of its kind. Other supporters of the March include Google, Facebook, Stardoll, the Metropolitan Police and TES (Times Educational Supplement). Many partners have pitched virtual *tents* housing information and support on The Big March’s website www.beatbullying.org/bigmarch.
The petition being delivered to the Deputy Prime Minister calls for Government ‘to take immediate action to protect children and young people from the bullying, violence and harassment of young people, by young people'. Beatbullying is also calling for an inter-departmental Anti-Bullying Review to be established, and for new legislation to be introduced where appropriate, in the form of a School Safety Bill and a Cyber Bullying Act to protect children (and teachers) while they are at school or online. Beatbullying believes that it should be explicitly against the law to bully, abuse or harass a pupil or teacher in or around school, or online, via mobile phones or other digital technologies.
The marchers will be joined by stars of the entertainment and sports world, including Aston Merrygold, Alesha Dixon, Freddie Flintoff and Lee Westwood, as well as Pixie Lott who last week donated her exclusive track ‘Get Weak’ as the official Big March anthem.
Emma-Jane Cross, Chief Executive of Beatbullying, commented:
“Today, hundreds of thousands of people are sending a loud and clear message to Government. Beatbullying has been overwhelmed by the support we have had in the past two months for our Big March campaign – over three quarter of a million people are supporting our campaign, which must clearly demonstrate to Government the imperative need to act now to protect some of our most vulnerable children and young people.
“Six months ago the Coalition Programme for Government clearly expressed the Government’s intention to tackle the bullying which is so widespread and insidious across both UK schools and the internet – a commitment which we at Beatbullying welcomed. Sadly what we continue to see instead are headlines after headlines of children taking their own live because of the barrage of bullying they are experiencing both on and offline. This can be stopped. £2.79 pays for Beatbullying to respond to a child that comes to cybermentors.org.uk.org, our unique peer to peer mentoring site, because they are being bullied - last year alone there were over 715,000 requests for help.
“As many as 30% of children have been bullied in the last year, a shocking statistic which the Government needs to redress, and galvanize all strands of society, including its leaders, to take action. How can we build on a Big Society if we as a nation are not doing all we can to protect our most vulnerable – our children and young people?
“Our research further shows that almost three quarters of children feel unsafe at school and a shocking 17% of under-14s would even be prepared to carry a weapon in order to protect themselves. These statistics highlight the urgent need for an Anti-Bullying Review. This would see representatives from Government, universities, charities, working with parents, schools and young victims of bullying, to develop a cross-departmental strategy and implementing long-term solutions to bullying, including but not limited to the potential introduction of legislation in the form of a Schools’ Safety Bill and Cyber Bullying Act.
Robert and Tracy Mullaney, parents of bullied teenager Tom, who took his own life in May following online bullying, added:
“Tragically, our son Tom took his own life in May of this year, following what we believe was one isolated incident of cyber bullying. This goes to demonstrate just how vicious and harmful an act cyber bullying is.
“Given just how devastating and far-reaching the consequences are, it must be made a crime and serious thought must be given, in the form of the proposed Review, to tackling bullying and ensuring that deaths such as Tom’s are avoided in the future. In this way, hopefully other young people and their families can be spared the senseless pain we have experienced over the last six months and join us in The Big March to make sure this never happens again.”
To march alongside The Big March supporters, log on to
To find out more about The Big March, you can view a short film at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wcnTNTlPbNY
Any young person experiencing bullying or who just needs someone to talk to is urged to visit www.cybermentors.org.uk.
For more information, interviews with a Beatbullying spokesperson or further statistics please contact:
Frank PR firstname.lastname@example.org | 0207 693 6999
NOTES TO EDITORS
Beatbullying is the UK's leading bullying prevention charity, creating a world where bullying, violence and harassment are unacceptable.
Beatbullying empowers people to understand, recognise, and say no to bullying, violence and harassment by giving them the tools to transform their lives and the lives of their peers. Working with families, schools, and communities to understand the problem, campaign for change and provide a sustainable efficient and proven solution.
CyberMentors.org.uk is a safe, social networking site providing information and support for young people being bullied or cyber bullied. Young people, aged 11-25, are trained as CyberMentors, in schools and online, so that they can offer support to their peers. Encapsulated by cutting-edge technology, it is a safe website where young people can turn to other young people for help and advice. CyberMentors are also supported by trained counsellors, available online if needed. CyberMentors is a Beatbullying project.
Beatbullying has gained significant recognition for its anti-bullying work in schools and communities across the UK, working with more than 1.6 million children and young people since its launch in 1999. For more information go to www.beatbulyling.org and www.cybermentors.org
About The Big March
The Big March Anti-Bullying Review, Beatbullying is proposing will be made up of Government representatives, university and charity delegates, young victims of bullying, parents and children, and will report its recommendations back to Government as part of 2011’s Big March. It is hoped that the review will investigate the best means of tackling bullying, violence and harassment against children.
Beatbullying believes, subject to the review’s findings, that Government may need to introduce legislation in order to tackle bullying and for children to be given the freedom to live a life free from bullying, violence and harassment.
It should be explicitly against the law to hurt, harass or bully children in schools online. This is what Beatbullying refers to a Schools Safety Bill and a cyber bullying law. These laws would give children protections from bullying and a refuge in the law but also empower head teachers and parents to take swift and decisive action, knowing the law is on their side.
Big March partners include: -
Google, Office of the Children's Commissioner, The Sun, Facebook, Children England, Battlefront, Stardoll, Action for Children, M&C Saatchi, Habbo, Raceonline2012, MediaCom, JLS Official, Girlguiding UK, MTV, YouTube, Demos, CITV, AOL Eleven, National Union of Students, Frank PR, Barry M, Hansard, JazzyMedia, Orange, Young Minds, MyBliss, Orange Rockcorps, Chance UK, First News, Bin Weevils, St Catherine's, Real Radio, Piczo, Communication Trust, Fun Kids Radio, VizWoz, Metropolitan Police, News of the World, Arnoldklp, Red Thread, Children and Young People Now, TOTAL Little Learners, Charlton Manor School, ClearChannel, Robinsons Fruit Shoot, National Autistic Society, Primesight, Pom Bear, King Alfred School, Netmums, Horbury School, SwapIt, Sam Whit CyberMentors, Bridgepoint, Essex Police, Mumsnet, Prince's Trust, DBG, TES, NEN, Princess Royal Trust for Carers, UK Youth Parliament, WarChild, ParentDish, LEAP, Kids First Trust, ASOS, MSN, New College, beat, GlobWorld, Dubit Limited, Pearson Assessment, Nominet Trust, The Mother’s Union, e-Skills UK.