The campaign, which features in adverts on the inside of 900 buses across Wales and is advertised on Facebook targeting children and young people living in Wales, urges those affected by bullying to speak out and seek help from a parent, teacher, friend or by contacting Meic, the National Advocacy and Advice helpline for children and young people in Wales.
Meic gives children and young people the opportunity to be heard on all issues that are important to them. As an advocacy and advice helpline, Meic offers a service that helps a child or young person to speak up for themselves, and can also include explaining, empowering, representing and help with navigating complex systems and procedures.
Since Meic went 24/7 in January last year, over 10,000 children and young people have contacted the helpline. To ensure the demands for the service continue to be met, Deputy Minister for Children and Social Services, Gwenda Thomas, recently announced a further £100,000 of funding for the helpline.
Meanwhile, the Welsh Government continues to work with schools and its others partners to tackle bullying in all its forms. In October last year, the Education Minister launched Respecting Others, a suite of comprehensive anti-bullying guidance which advises on preventing, responding to and recording bullying, including examples of good practice, case studies and scenarios.
The guidance focuses on five distinct forms of bullying: bullying around race, religion and culture; bullying around special educational needs and disabilities; homophobic bullying; sexist, sexual and transphobic bullying and cyber-bullying.
Schools across Wales are now also able to offer school-based counselling services for those who have been affected by bullying, with the Welsh Government providing £14.25 million of funding from 2011-2014. This universal service is the first of its kind in the UK.
Reaffirming the Welsh Government’s commitment to tackling bullying, the Education Minister said:
“Unfortunately there are still too many children and young people in Wales who suffer at the hands of bullies. This is unacceptable.
“Bullying in any form often results in a loss of confidence and a fear of speaking out. It is therefore vital that we make children and people aware of the help and support available, whether from a parent or carer, a teacher or a friend, or Meic, our national advocacy and support helpline.
“The Welsh Government, through its school-based counselling strategy and anti-bullying guidance, will continue to helping to raise awareness of all forms of bullying whilst also ensuring that proper support mechanisms are in place to help those who have been affected.”
Deputy Minister for Children and Social Services, Gwenda Thomas said:
“I am aware of the huge difference Meic makes to the lives of children and young people, who time and time again tell us about the value that they place on advocacy support and how it can change their lives for the better.
“Children and young people should expect to be protected from harm and bullying, to have education and things to do outside school, to be listened to when they are not happy, to have an opinion and be involved in decisions that affect them. It is our place to ensure that this happens.
"The rights of children have been growing steadily stronger and I am proud to note that when we mark Universal Children’s Day this week (20th November) we do so knowing Wales was the first country in the UK to pass legislation that enshrines the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child into domestic law."