Support to reduce the risk of being bullied
This week is Anti-Bullying Week, which aims to raise awareness of how the effects of bullying can have a massive impact on all individuals, whether that is at school, work, college or socially.
Barnardo’s is acutely aware that young people who have caring responsibilities for relatives or siblings are more likely to be bullied than their peers because of their family situation. Recent research found that a quarter of young carers surveyed were bullied at school because of their caring role.
It is estimated there are 700,000 young carers in the UK, many of whom are vulnerable due to the stresses and strains caring for family members brings and many young carers spend 20 hours or more each week caring for their relative – often cooking, cleaning, washing, shopping and sometimes administering medication. They can be left feeling isolated and alone because of their situation and unable to turn to anyone for help. Being bullied adds to this feeling of isolation and has a significantly detrimental effect on their mental health and wellbeing.
Schools do a lot of excellent work with young carers, but they need to know when a child is a young carer so they can spot the signs they are being bullied. There needs to be protective factors put into place, such as a teacher who understands their situation, access to school counsellors and nurses and quick referrals to young carer services, many run by Barnardo’s.
Those services are able to support young carers and their families – providing advice, emotional support and opportunities for young carers to take a break from their caring responsibilities, spend time with other young carers and share their experiences. Young carers are wonderful young people and we are proud of all of the ones who come to our services.
Director, Barnardo’s East Region