Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood insists there needs to be 'consistency' in the way records are compiled on incidents of homophobic bullying in schools. She says that '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.'
– Welsh Government spokesperson
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.
Welsh councils are 'in the dark' over incidents of homophobic bullying at schools, because many don't record them, a Plaid Cymru AM says.
– Lindsay Whittle AM, Plaid Cymru Shadow Equalities spokesperson
This Plaid survey is worrying because it reveals that most local authorities are in the dark over the extent of homophobic bullying and, possibly, bullying generally. Some local authorities like Ceredigion and Conwy clearly have systems in place to record this information which is to be applauded. Knowing the extent of any problem is key to dealing with it, so something needs to change. Schools need to pass on information to local authorities or local authorities need to ask them to pass it on. It is also important that we know incidents are also being dealt with.
The party contacted councils with Freedom of Information requests - and the majority of Wales' 22 local authorities said they didn't keep records, as it was done by schools.
Lindsay Whittle says 'the Welsh Government may need to take action to ensure that incidents of bullying, including homophobic bullying, are recorded and acted on.'