Plans to tackle homophobic bullying backed

Polegate and Seaford MP Norman Baker is supporting Lib Dem proposals to combat homophobic bullying in schools.

The project has been announced by Lib Dem Women and Equalities Minister Jo Swinson.

The new initiative seeks to understand fully how to reduce the prevalence and impact of bullying based on sexual orientation among school-age children and young people.

Organisations are being invited to bid for funding to conduct a full review of all the available evidence and existing practices currently in place in schools to tackle this issue.

The review comes as the latest statistics from Stonewall reveal more than half (55 per cent) of young lesbian, gay and bisexual people surveyed said they experienced homophobic bullying at school.

In addition over two-thirds (68 per cent) reported that they heard homophobic language often or frequently. Only three in ten (31 per cent) said their school responds quickly to homophobic bullying when it occurs.

Mr Baker said, “This sort of bullying can have long term debilitating effects on children and their education, which can permanently affect their life chances.

“We need to do everything we can to protect young people from these awful experiences.

“The Lib Dems have been at the forefront of equality for decades.

“Once again we can be proud of the real progress we have made in Government developing and promoting progressive policies and initiatives like this one.”

The first phase of the project will involve a critical review of the evidence and existing practices on tackling homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying, setting out the nature of the problem, what is currently being done, how and with what impact.