A new campaign to tackle homophobic and transphobic bullying in schools has been launched by the Crown Prosecution Service in England and Wales.
The CPS is working with the Ministry of Justice and Stonewall to develop educational resource packs which will teach students about the impact of homophobic and transphobic bullying on victims.
The packs will contain lessons plans and a DVD.
Chief Crown Prosecutor for CPS North West, Nazir Afzal, said: “Targeting someone because of their sexual orientation or gender identity is totally unacceptable. Such abuse attacks people’s right to feel safe and confident about themselves.
“We want young people to become more alive to the fact that not only are hate crimes particularly nasty and unpleasant, they are also illegal and committing such offences can have serious consequences.
“We hope that this resource pack will be used to help young people realise the devastating impact that homophobic and transphobic bullying and hate crime can have on victims and their families, as well as making them aware of the need to report abuse and the potential legal consequences for perpetrators.
“Education is the key to this and I hope that the pack will support schools in the work they do to encourage young people to take a stand against bullying and hate crime.”
NUT General Secretary Christine Blower, leader of Britain’s largest teachers’ union, said: “For too many young people school life is made extremely challenging and miserable due to prejudice and harassment based on their sexuality – this must stop.
“The NUT believes that the CPS pack ‘Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender hate crime’ offers excellent advice and guidance as well as materials to help teachers address bullying.”
James Taylor, head of policy at Stonewall, added: “Sadly too many people still experience harassment and abuse simply because of how they were born. Through our work with schools we know just how important it is to work with young people, parents and teachers to tackle homophobic abuse. These new resources will be an important step towards ensuring that LGBT people can live free from fear and that everyone can take a stand against hate crimes and bullying.”
Research published by the National Union of Students in May showed one in five lesbian, gay and bisexual students has experienced bullying or harassment at a university campus, with the figure rising to one in three for trans students.