The NSPCC has reported a rise in the number of LGBT teenagers calling their helpline to ask for help with homophobic bullying.

There was a 21% rise in calls to Childline about all types of bullying in the year up to March 2006.

About a quarter of all calls to the helpline are about bullying.

Many gay and lesbian callers said their teachers ignored homophobic verbal and physical abuse.

Too scared to tell their parents, the majority of them told Childline they are lonely and isolated.

The Liberal Democrats have demanded the government take action against homophobic bullying.

They are asking people to sign their online petition, which outlines measures the party want in place immediately:

1. Homophobic taunts and name calling in schools should be challenged immediately by staff.

2. All schools’ anti-bullying policies should be required to include measures specifically to deal with homophobic bullying.

3. At least one teacher in every school should undergo training which includes how to tackle homophobic bullying.

The petition can be found at http://www.libdems.org.uk/campaigns/stop-homophobic-bullying.html