Welsh local authorities criticised for failing to record anti-gay school bullying
The leader of Plaid Cymru Leanne Wood says there needs to be greater consistency in the way homophobic school bullying is recorded by local authorities in Wales.
A freedom of information (FOI) request by the party found that only four out of 22 local authorities had information about bullying incidents.
Ceredigion council in mid-west Wales recorded 73 incidents of homophobic bullying which have been dealt with at its schools since September 2010.
Conwy council in north Wales said that it was aware of 18 incidents over the same period while one had been recorded at Gwynedd in north-west Wales, and Bridgend, south Wales.
The other 18 councils said they did not keep records, although schools might.
Plaid Cymru Leanne Wood told ITV News:
“We know that bullying in general…a lot of it is hidden because young people don’t come forward, with homophobic bullying it is likely to be even more of a problem because of the stigma attached to being gay.
She added: “Unless we have a true picture of exactly what’s going on, then it’s very difficult to put policies in place to overcome the problem.”
In response, a Welsh Government spokesman said:
“Bullying of any kind is totally unacceptable. In October last year, we published a suite of comprehensive anti-bullying guidance which includes a specific section on homophobic bullying.
“The guidance advises on preventing, responding to and monitoring and recording homophobic bullying. Good recording procedures allow schools to demonstrate that they are taking steps to tackle bullying, and that initiatives are effective.
“We would encourage all local authorities to work with schools in adopting systems to record incidents of homophobic bullying and ensuring they are acted upon.”