Bulling in the UK: Where are we now?
The Ben Cohen StandUp Foundation hosted its first Conference on 12th November 2018 in London to bring together academics, practitioners, charities, community organisations and policy-makers to share evidence and insight into what works in tackling bullying.
Keynote speaker, David Isaac CBE, Chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, started the day by emphasising that the work of the EHRC is to ensure that everyone has a fair start in life and addressing the roles that early stereotyping, prejudice and social media have in perpetuating bullying in the UK.
Participants in the conference included charity workers, academics, human resource professionals, senior managers, teachers and educators, counsellors, and individuals who work in pastoral care.
The aim of the day was to obtain a clear understanding of bullying in the UK in four key areas: Bullying in Sport, including homophobia and transphobia; Sexual Bullying; Mental Health and Disability Bullying, and Bullying in the Workplace; and through sharing experiences and fostering collaboration, to devise practicable actions.
Ben Cohen MBE, 2003 World Cup Rugby Winner and Founder of the Ben Cohen StandUp Foundation, said the reason he decided to hold the conference was because he wanted to “provide a unique opportunity for experts from all sectors to collaborate, inform and improve anti-bullying research and practice, while embracing the Anti-Bullying Week theme of ‘Choose Respect’.”
World leading expert on bullying, Professor Emeritus Peter Smith, Goldsmiths, University of London, on Chairing a key panel discussions said, “Bullying is an area where there is much excellent research and much excellent practice, but research and practice do not always liaise and communicate with each other to maximum effect. This conference … has a vital role to play in helping this to come about.”
Lee Marshall, #5 on the OUTstanding/Financial Times LGBT Global Senior Public Sector Executive 2018 list and Chair of the Ben Cohen StandUp Foundation, provided more detail about its work and impact through grant-giving programmes, leading into the final workshops following lunch.
During the day, Jonathan Hudson, Head of Marketing for Start-Rite Shoes, also an attendee, presented a cheque for £3,000 which was a result of a joint fundraising and awareness raising campaign called #KidsWalkTall.
The day was full of thought-provoking critical discussion on how to combat bullying – from implementing new legislation and strict regulations for members of Professional Bodies, to exploring the psychology of shame and talking to young people about sexual relationships.
With the agenda structured to facilitate networking, participants openly engaged, sharing their work and experiences and sparking collaboration for future joint work.
Storyteller, thaumaturge and kindness campaigner, Bernadette Russell, ended the day with an animated and shimmering story of hope, inspiring everyone in attendance to spread happiness
A full list of panellists is available here.