ENABLE Scotland have been funded by The Scottish Government to launch a three year anti-bullying project, aimed at school pupils, to help the charity tackle the high instances of bullying of people who have a learning disability.
The initiative entitled Open your Mind Not Your Mouth will launch on Monday 18 June and will include the unveiling of an anti-bullying charter, written by young people, which the charity hopes young Scots will pledge their support to.
The Open Your Mind Not Your Mouth project will provide innovative and engaging workshops and presentations in schools across Scotland, delivered by young people who have a learning disability.
It is estimated that eight out of ten children who have a learning disability are bullied.
In May this year a study for Scotland’s Commissioner for Children and Young People (SCCYP) highlighted that bullying of children who have a disability, including name calling and physical attacks, remains prevalent and acts as a major barrier to their social inclusion.
Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said:
“The Scottish Government is delighted to support this project through a grant award to Enable Scotland of £96,413 over three years. This anti-bullying project will be delivered by people with a learning disability to over 7,000 schoolchildren in Scotland.
“Bullying can take a terrible toll on someone’s life. The project will tackle the underlying causes of disability harassment, hate crime, prejudice and discrimination.
“It will equip people with learning disabilities, the people who support them and community police staff with more skills, knowledge and confidence to identify tackle, and reduce harassment. The project will also provide advocacy services to help people with learning disabilities to have their voices heard.”
Peter Scott, ENABLE Scotland’s CEO explained more:
“Bullying and hate crime are major issues for our members, who tell us that for many the problems begin at school and continue into adulthood. This ambitious project will see a core group of people who have learning disabilities work with over 7,000 young Scots over the next three years. It is hoped that the project will leave a lasting legacy, resulting in young people being less likely to bully, or to tolerate bullying.
“We hope Open Your Mind Not Your Mouth will break down some of the prejudices and misconceptions that exist, as young people begin to understand more about learning disability and the consequences of their words and actions. The project will also help people who have learning disabilities to recognise and tackle bullying.”
Scotland’s Commissioner for Children and Young People, Tam Baillie, said:
“The report I published recently highlighted that bullying takes a variety of forms, ranging from people being deliberately excluded from conversations to physical aggression. The report also showed that even when young people were not actually bullied, the fear of it affected their sense of self and social relationships. I welcome the project being launched by Enable Scotland which will see young Scots working to help make inclusion a reality and ensure that the rights of disabled young people are respected.”
This project, which has been funded by The Scottish Government’s Equality Unit, will also work with community police officers across Scotland to help them develop further skills, knowledge and confidence to identify and tackle hate crime.
Pledge Support to Our Anti Bullying Charter!
As part of the project ENABLE Scotland are launching an anti-bullying charter on Monday 18th June to coincide with the start of Learning Disability Week and aim to get young Scots to pledge their support to the charter. Young people can do this through their schools, online and also via the project’s face book page, which will provide information for anyone affected by bullying. The charter was written by young people.
For more information on this project call 0300 0200 101.
• ENABLE Scotland is Scotland’s leading charity for children and adults who have a learning disability and their families and carers.
• ENABLE Scotland campaigns for people who have a learning disability to live full and independent lives.
• ENABLE Scotland is a member-led organisation formed in 1954 by a group of families.
• Local ENABLE branches are made up of volunteers – mostly people who have a learning disability, their families and carers.
• 1.5 million people in the UK have a learning disability. The most well known learning disability is Down’s Syndrome, although there are many others.
• ENABLE Scotland provides services, information and advice to allow people who have a learning disability to live, work and take part in their communities – living the life they want.
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ENABLE Scotland, Charity No SC009024 and company limited by guarantee Reg No 278976 Scotland (full details of associated companies and branches can be supplied on request)