Bullying & The Law
On the 14th March 2013 Ayden Olson, a 14 year old young man from Colchester, ended his life because of bullying. Unfortunately Ayden's death was by no means the first suicide of its kind, and it won't be the last. These tragic deaths, of those young people who have paid the ultimate price for being bullied, have caused devastating effects for his family.
Ayden's Law is a campaign which was set up by BeatBullying, The Sun newspaper and some of the families who have been affected by similar tragedies. It acts on behalf of young people to prevent bullying and enforce education about bullying, and above all, to protect other young people from wanting to end their life because of bullying.
The Anti-Bullying Bill is designed to put an end to all bullying and it has the Prime Minister's support.
Ayden's Law aims to make bullying and intimidation a criminal offence. If someone was found to be causing physical or mental harm to another person, they could be charged and prosecuted. All of this would happen out of a court room.
It also requires all social workers to be given training about bullying / anti-bullying as part of their qualification in social work. This will provide them with what they need to work with their community to prevent bullying, and provide the correct support to the victims and their families. They will also be taught how to work with the bullies to help them stop bullying people.
The Law also requires the government and the Prime Minister to support the changes and to publish the report which shows the clear responsibilities for all of the parties involved e.g. internet providers, schools and the government etc.
Families that have children who consistently continue to bully someone will be required to attend a family intervention program to work with the bully to change their behaviour.
Aiden's Law will be included in the Government's newly drafted Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill (ASBO), currently sitting before parliament.
Tracey Crouch MP proposed amendments to the ASBO, and Home Office Minister Jeremy Browne made the concession. Key aspects of Ayden's Law were included into the new ASBO bill, these are:
A new injunction in the Prevent Nuisance and Disorder Bill (IPNA), which will replace the ASBO and will allow Headteachers to enforce injunctions on bullies. They join police officers, local authorities, housing providers, Transport for London and the Environment Agency who can also legally enforce such measures.
A new 'Community trigger' will let members of communities request a review in situations where there have been several complaints about bullying. Community remedies are important because they are civil and not criminal and ensure an alternative to criminal prosecution in the majority of cases.
Crucially, these developments will reduce current levels of bullying-related criminal prosecutions. It will do this by providing smarter, non-criminal sanctions developed by local professionals who work with children, together with local authorities, schools and police.
For the person who is bullied, this means their safety will be protected. For the perpetrator it means that services work together to understand why that child is bullying and develop a suitable course of action which will effectively address those behaviours.
Information correct as of 12th August 2013.