Anti-bullying campaigners in Wales join online ‘march’ [BBC News Wales, 15/11/2010]

Anti-bullying campaigners in Wales are joining a “virtual march” to mark the start of a week highlighting the issue.

The Big March will visit 60 websites such as such as Action for Children, War Child and Girlguiding UK to call for more support for bullying victims.

Campaigner Gemma Lang, who set up an advice site as a teenager, said digital technology allowed “24/7” bullying.

In Conwy, school pupils are being asked to write poems and songs to promote respect and friendship.

Ms Lang, from Caerphilly, who was bullied at school, has relaunched her Full stop 2 bullying website after a bout of ill-health, and said young victims of bullying no longer had the chance to escape it after school.

She said: “The big thing I am seeing now is the bullying online at home and the hate pages being set up. That’s quite an issue.

“I’ve had some people who were being bullied in their school and those people are then going home and seeing [social network] hate pages against them. It was a further extension of the bullying.

“The internet now just seems to have given a platform for bullies to show off what they are doing.

Bullying now is 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It’s quite worrying really.”

One of those embarking the “virtual march” across around 50 websites, calling for help to combat bullying, is martial arts expert Simon Morrell.

He has 30 years’ experience in the martial arts but this year published a book, from Bullied to Black Belt, describing his experiences.

‘Change behaviour’

He said: “I’m supporting the Big March because I believe it’s an innovative and dynamic way to engage young people in preventing bullying, providing support and ensuring more is done to shape attitudes and change behaviour.”

An anti-bullying conference was recently held in Conwy for staff, pupils and governors from all schools.

Head of education services Geraint James said: “To tackle bullying effectively we need to work on a variety of levels.

“All our schools have anti-bullying policies, but to be really effective we need to harness the support of the whole school community including the pupils themselves.

“It is very encouraging to see so many of our schools taking this opportunity to work with pupils to promote respectful and positive relationships and to develop awareness of how we can tackle bullying together.”

Anti-Bullying Week, from 15-19 November, is run by the Anti-Bullying Alliance (ABA), a network of more than 70 organisations.