ONLINE BULLYING: WEEK 5 (CYBERBULLYING & SEN/DISABILITIES)

/ 7 February 2019

Esther continues her online bullying campaign this week highlighting the issue of those with special educational needs. Again, this is often an extension of face-to-face bullying and particularly hurtful when it moves into the online world. According to The-Anti-Bullying Alliance “disabled children and those with special educational needs (SEN) are more likely to experience cyberbullying and less likely to be given support in how to use the internet safely.”

According to Nick Ball, Deputy Chief Executive of Skills For People, 80% of people with learning disabilities are bullied mentally, physically, or sexually. He even knows of one individual who was murdered by people who pretended to be his friends, abused him financially, and beat him to death.

Esther spoke with Amy Clarke in the studio. Amy is a Digital Assistant for Mencap and has a learning disability herself. Amy recalled how she had joined an online discussion group and made a comment about a TV show and someone called her the ‘R word’, leaving Amy shocked and upset. Amy left the group and reported what had happened. Sadly, the site did very little and Amy received hardly any feedback from them. Amy believes it should be a criminal offence to be abusive towards those with SEN or physical disabilities, and should be banned in the same way racism or religious hate is.

National projects and websites which could help:

  • Skills For People are based in the North East of England. They promote and protect the rights of disabled people and their families across the UK. For more information visit their website on: http://skillsforpeople.org.uk/
  • Contact A Family offer specific advice about bullying and special needs. You can contact them on https://contact.org.uk/ or by telephone on 0808 808 3555
  • Mencap has useful advice and support on bullying and disability. To find out more head to https://www.mencap.org.uk/ or give them a call on 0808 808 1111
  • National Autistic Society offer advice on bullying and special educational needs you can find out more on their website: https://www.autism.org.uk/ or telephone 0808 800 4104.

Other organisations have useful suggestions and advice for all children and parents including information about positive action schools can take: