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Beatbullying, a UK based anti-bullying charity, organised an on-line march against bullying last week. Thousands of people across the world took part, asking the UN to add the right to be safe from bullying to the Declaration on the Rights of the Child.

If the campaign is successful, this will be the first change to Rights of the Child in over a decade. Currently, these rights include the right to education, the right to relax and play, and the right to a home and family life. But, for millions of children, those rights are not a reality. So, is there any point adding bullying to the declaration? Or would it just become another ignored right?

We don’t even know how to recognise, let alone prevent bullying. Most schools, admittedly not all, already have some kind of anti-bullying program. Posters and talks, or a peer mentoring scheme, or a “safe room” for victims of bullying during lunch and breaks. But do any of these actually work? We don’t even know. So would a legal obligation to fund them improve things? Not necessarily.

But, then, nothing I campaign for is a perfect solution. I know that. Nothing I believe in can be proved without doubt. I know that too.  Why do I expect perfection from anti-bullying work, then? I’ve taken part in peer-mentoring schemes, I know they can help people, even if they don’t help everyone. Raising awareness of bullying might not stop bullying, but it might make it easier for victims / survivors to recognise what happened, and get help if they need it. I’m sure the same is true of other schemes, that I’ve not worked with.

All of this is important. Bullying is often seen as a trivial issue only affecting a small number of people. Unfortunately, that’s not true. About twenty children or young people commit suicide every year because of bullying[1], and nearly half f young people have been bullied at some point in their lives[2]. I want to do something about that, if I can.

By adding safety from bullying to the Rights of the Child, we raise the profile of this issue. It could force our government, and others, to fund anti-bullying schemes better. It could give children and young people a recourse, if their school or college doesn’t do anything to prevent bullying.

So, I signed Beatullying’s petition (http://www.beatbullying.org/bigmarch/), and I’m asking you to do the same. Because, yes, we all deserve the right to be safe from bullying.  Because I want our governments to be held accountable for stopping this. Because it’s a start.

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