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A survey of 300 secondary schools in England and Wales found 82% of teachers are aware of verbal incidents, and 26% aware of physical incidents of homophobic bullying. Only 6% of schools had anti-bullying policies specifically designed to combat homophobic bullying.

Many people think schools could not talk about sexuality or deal with homophobic bullying because of Section 28 of the Local Government Act 1988. But even before it was repealed, Section 28 did not apply to schools and did not prevent schools from addressing the issues of sexuality or homophobic bullying. In fact schools have a legal obligation to prevent all forms of bullying, including homophobic bullying, and to provide a safe learning environment for all pupils and staff.

''   Schools should make sure that homphobic attitudes do not go unchallenged  ''

Homophobia and homophobic bullying are major problems for pupils, parents, staff and all those involved with young people and their education, irrespective of whether they are straight, lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.

Homophobic bullying is not only experienced by pupils or professionals who are lesbian, gay or bisexual. It can also affect any child, young person or staff member who does not conform to ways of behaving that are traditionally associated with being ‘masculine’ or ‘feminine’. Abuse can be verbal, physical or psychological.

Bullying can harm the physical and emotional well-being of both those who are bullied and those who bully.

Research shows that homophobic bullying:

  • increases truancy rates
  • increases self-harm and suicide by young people
  • lowers educational attainment
  • damages self-esteem

    Combating homophobic bullying can positively affect the academic attainment and emotional and physical wellbeing of both groups, and anti-bullying policies, equal opportunity policies, coverage of the issue of homosexuality in the curriculum, behaviour management, pastoral and other support are essential elements for strategies that do this.

    In this section we provide details of sources of information about how to prevent and/or challenge homophobic bullying. This section also includes information for LGBT parents of school age children.

    Click on the titles below:

    This section contains details of resources on homophobic bullying, general bullying and specific resources for children and young people, teachers and parents and families.

    Useful tips for LGBT parents
    This section contains some useful infomration for LGBT parents to help them to pro-actively address issues that may arise at school.

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