EACH, The Bristol based award-winning charity for adults and young people affected by homophobia, are among eight organisations to get a share of £2 million to help prevent and eradicate homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying.
The Government Equalities Office and Department for Education announced an invitation to tender for grants of up to a total of £2 million to fund activity to prevent and tackle HBT bullying in schools during late 2014 and the eight organisations have been chosen as a result of this process. £1.8 million has been awarded directly to organisations and the remainder will support an independent evaluation of the projects to understand impacts, share learning more widely and inform future initiatives.
EACH was awarded £189,304 which will allow it to deliver a training and resource programme in schools across Avon and Somerset.
Homophobic bullying in schools is shown to be decreasing – 55 per cent of lesbian, gay and bisexual young people surveyed for Stonewall’s 2012 School Report said they had experienced homophobic bullying, down from 65 per cent in 2009.
However further action is still needed. Metro’s Youth Chances Survey 2014 found that more than half of gay young people had experienced either discrimination or harassment. In a report from Stonewall last year 86 per cent of secondary school teachers and 45 per cent of primary school teachers said pupils at their school had experienced homophobic bullying. Most (89 per cent for secondary schools and 70 per cent for primary) had heard homophobic language used. Teachers say they lack the knowledge and confidence to tackle HBT bullying effectively. These projects will help to build that confidence by providing training and resources for school staff.
Minister for Women and Equalities, Jo Swinson, said: “It’s good news that schools are making progress on homophobic bullying, but it must be eradicated entirely. The trauma of being bullied at school can stay with you for life, and it is absolutely unacceptable that those who may be gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender are being targeted. Teachers need specialist support and training to help them stamp out homophobic bullying, which is why we have funded these excellent projects which are designed to tackle this issue head on.”
One project from the remaining funds a new website – Stop Online Abuse, has also been launched providing advice on what action individuals, especially women and LGB&T people, can take against offensive, damaging or threatening content online and in other media. It has been developed by Galop in consultation with Trans Media Watch, the Women’s Resource Centre, Gender Identity Research and Education Society, Rights of Women, Allsorts and the LGBT Consortium.
The government has already taken a number of steps to reduce all forms of bullying in schools. We are providing more than £4 million to organisations working with schools on tackling bullying, and training teachers to tackle homophobia. We have strengthened teachers’ powers to deal with bullying, including their ability to deal with cyber bullying by checking mobile phones and other devices. Schools are now held to account by Ofsted on tackling bullying and behaviour effectively.