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Society takes anti-homophobic bullying campaign to TUC

10 August, 2012
Bullying image

The Society will put forward a motion at next month’s TUC Congress to call for the TUC to work with campaigning organisations to tackle homophobic bullying in schools and encourage education authorities to take action to eradicate the problem.

The issue was raised earlier this year, when a motion was passed at the Annual Delegates’ Conference calling for the Society to support the Stonewall Education For All programme.

Proposing the motion at ADC, David Finn of Scottish Council explained: “Homophobic bullying is directly experience by 65% of the lesbian-gay-bisexual young people in our schools. Forty-one per cent experience physical abuse, like kicking, punching and thrown objects.

“Our schools are supposed to be places of safety but it is clear that children are facing these attacks daily, in the very place where they should feel secure.”

David cited a study carried out by Stonewall to assess the extent of the issue in secondary schools. “The report quite clearly paints a picture of a system that is repeatedly failing our young people and a society which still doesn’t know quite what to do about this kind of abuse,” said David.

The study showed that less than a quarter of schools address homophobic bullying in their anti-bullying strategies and the problem is largely unnoticed due to the victims’ reluctance to report incidences of bullying.

Encouragingly, the study shows that change is not difficult and gay pupils are 60% less likely to be bullied if their school explicitly states that it will not tolerate homophobic bullying.

Stonewall is a charity which raises awareness of issues affecting the lesbian, gay and bisexual communities. Its Education For All programme provides support and guidance to local authorities in tackling homophobic bullying in schools.

The Society is also raising a further motion calling for a funding reform and legislation to protect people living with Multiple Sclerosis.

Around 100,00 people in UK are affected by Multiple Sclerosis (MS), which is a disorder of the brain and spinal cord. Symptoms can include visual problems, muscle spasms, neuroplasmic and muscloskeletal pain, fatigue, depression and paralysis.

“Recent research by the MS Society found that the number of MS patients presenting to A&E departments has dramatically increased due, in no small part, to the low level of care that these patients are receiving in their daily lives,” explained Daniel Ordidge, who proposed the motion at ADC.

“This can be changed if we improve the care and support that these patients receive, reducing attendance to A&E and, therefore, reducing the cost and strain that many emergency departments are currently under.”

In January 2012, the MS Society challenged the Government to deliver a social care system able to provide well funded and high quality care and support for people with long term conditions. It joined more than 60 charities, groups and senior NHS figures to sign an open letter to the Prime Minister stating that the current system is failing people and calling for more to be done to give people the support they need to live independent lives.

The Society is also calling on the TUC to support the MS Society’s campaign for better social care; support the recommendations of the Dilnot Commission on funding of care and support; and campaign and lobby the government to reform the confusing and contradictory patchwork of social care legislation through full implementation of the Law Commission’s recommendations.

The TUC Congress will be held on 9-12 September, in Brighton.

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