During Anti-Bullying week, Barnardo’s is calling for an end to homophobic, bi-phobic and transphobic bullying and highlighting the need to educate all children and adults about hate crime.
The UK’s largest children’s charity is urging the Government to listen to feedback from its relationship and sex education consultation. The current guidance refers to different types of relationships and Barnardo’s says there must be explicit reference to LGBTQ relationships in secondary school lessons and same sex relationships in primary school lessons.
The call comes following the success of Barnardo’s Right to Be project in East Riding, Yorkshire, designed to raise awareness around homophobia, biphobia and transphobia, which account for 22.9 per cent of all hate crimes in the area, in contrast to the UK average of 12.2 per cent.
An evaluation report about the project found it had achieved its overall goal, of raising awareness of LGBTQ lives and communities, exploring the impact of sexual orientation identity and trans identity hate crime and highlighting the importance of celebrating equality, diversity and inclusion for all.
Working with schools and communities in East Riding, the project included community engagement events, school workshops and assemblies. There were also training workshops for school staff and community training workshops to raise awareness and increase understanding of the roles and responsibilities of professionals and community members.
More than 1,500 children took part in the workshops and many reported having an increased understanding of what a hate crime is and knowing how to report it, as well as an increased empathy for those pupils who have friends and family who identify as LGBTQ.
Barnardo’s Chief Executive Javed Khan said:
Bullying at school, including homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying, can be hugely harmful to young people’s wellbeing and mental health.
It’s absolutely vital that we tackle bullying behaviour early, before it becomes a hate crime.
That’s why we’re calling on the Government to make sure all children learn about LGBTQ relationships as part of the Relationship and Sex Education curriculum.
Lessons should also cover bullying and hate crime, encouraging young people to understand their rights and responsibilities, and the role they can play in promoting equality and respect for all.