On the 7th November 2019 Young Commissioners from Youth Advisory Boards (YABs) around Norfolk are hosting the Norfolk Youth Against Bullying Conference. Young people (aged 11-19 or up to 25 with a disability) and professionals from around Norfolk are invited to attend to take part in workshops and hear from leading experts in the field of anti-bullying. Tickets are free for young people and £10 for professionals and can be obtained here.
YABs are youth-led bodies of young people and adult professionals who work together to make positive change for young people and their communities. A YAB operates in each district area of Norfolk. In 2018 the Norfolk YABs facilitated their annual youth consultation with young people across the county. The results of this consultation suggest that bullying in Norfolk is on the rise. Further consultation revealed that the majority of young people in Norfolk felt their schools were not doing enough to stop bullying and that very few offered good quality support to those who had experienced bullying. Many young people felt their schools “just didn’t care”.
Research into bullying carried out by Kings College London states that ‘Children and young people who are bullied can still experience negative effects on their physical and mental health more than 40 years later.’ Researchers found that those ‘bullied frequently as children were at an increased risk of depression and anxiety, and more likely to report a lower quality of life at 50’. This is reaffirmed by the responses from young people when asked by YABs about the effects of bullying. Responses included missing school or changing schools, anxiety, self-harm, depression and suicidal thoughts and behaviours. An increase in bullying in Norfolk may then lead to a greater risk of poor mental health among young people. It is vital that those working with young people collaborate to tackle bullying in order to promote good mental health in Norfolk schools.
In May 2019 Young Commissioners from Breckland YAB partnered up with The Diana Award Trust, the Ofsted recognised provider of anti-bullying training to deliver free ‘Anti-Bullying Ambassador’ training to 100 secondary school students and staff from across Norfolk. In June 2019 Breckland, West Norfolk and Broadland YABs attended the World Anti-Bullying Forum in Dublin. The Forum brought together a multi-disciplinary team from around the world. The aim was to encourage dialogue in order to better understand the issue of bullying, to share learning, and to understand how we can all be part of the solution.
In order to share their learning young commissioners decided to hold a Norfolk Anti-Bullying Conference. The Norfolk Youth Against Bullying Conference will provide an opportunity for young people to work with senior members of their schools and local communities to take action to tackle bullying and drive an agenda for change. Young people will work alongside other experts in the field to deliver a conference full of information, ideas and tools. Professionals will have the opportunity to work alongside young people in a new and creative way. You will develop ideas that bridge both new and old perspectives to create practical and positive ways to eradicate bullying and improve the outcomes for children and young people in Norfolk.