Above, Louise Burfitt-Dons. AAB founder.
(Scroll down the page for the Contact form.)
Act Against Bullying was begun by Louise Burfitt-Dons in 2000, a parent and writer who was concerned about the escalation of bullying in the UK. She is still the spokesperson for the charity.
AAB became a registered charity in 2003.
This was because just reporting the problem didn’t seem to be helping. AAB is now one of the longest running voluntary anti-bullying charities in the UK.
The ethos of Act Against Bullying since its outset has been upbeat and motivational. If we had a motto it would be ‘keep going’.
At the heart of our work is the belief that consideration for others is the anti-dote for bullying. Also that strong morale is essential for children’s psychological and physical health.
Bullying is complex and insidious. It is difficult to counter and legislation is not always the answer. But the effects of systematic bullying can be long lasting. In the UK many children have taken their own as a result of constant harassment.
While Act Against Bullying is realistic about the difficulties of achieving a bully-free society, we believe we can make changes.
If we can work to curb the excesses of bullying of children in today’s world we can improve the quality of life for everyone.
For example, we work closely with Hamish Brown MBE who is the UK’s leading stalking expert. The two subjects are closely related. We are consulted by authorities on bullying, social networking and cyberstalking campaigning.
The charity is run by a board of four trustees, two of whom are managers with the HSBC. We have no paid employees and all our work is done on a voluntary basis. By helping others in the way that we do, we believe we are fulfilling our important mission. Many of our supporters have encountered bullying themselves and donate their support because they are concerned human beings with a positive attitude on life here in the UK.
(Above, me speaking at the Cambridge Union about bullying.)
AAB began with my research after my daughter was bullied at her primary school. That was sixteen years ago. I’ve continued with this work ever since because I hate to see children hurt and their parents distraught with worry. I know how upsetting, frightening it can be from my very own experience.
Children were telling me that bullying begins with the little things that can’t be reported. Then it escalates. My challenge was to help them. Like an investigative journalist, I started out by identifying, researching and writing up my findings on what was going on. When children were deliberately being isolated I labelled this “Exclusion to Cause Distress” or ECD.
The Surrey Police were particularly interested in my work because this new bullying activity was spreading.
Their concern was twofold. Firstly that a situation similar to the Columbine school shootings could happen in the UK. Also because studies were showing that a high percentage of children who bully go on to commit other forms of crime. They considered anti-bullying important preventative work.
ECD stems from unhealthy peer pressure It’s particularly prevalent amongst girls. This is not simply a change of social set, or not being cool enough for a certain crowd. There’s always a ‘forcing out’ by the bully using a range of effective techniques. The ploys are only limited by their imagination.
Being deliberately excluded is even worse for children today when everyone is connected up on social media.
By raising awareness of ECD, AAB established that bullying wasn’t just about punching and kicking and robbing lunch money. It took our work and the suicides of around 20 children under sixteen a year to change the thinking on that.
The advice before I set up AAB was simply to report the matter to the teacher. But that’s not always the end of the matter. Plus no one wants to be labelled a troublemaker. Or earn the stigma of “victim”.
So on this site you will find as much information as we can draw together. There are tips on how to react and behave if you think your child has become the target of a bullying campaign. Plus you’ll get the low down on what’s going on with the internet. Sometimes bullying can lead on to or include sexual abuse, online grooming, sexting and even cyberstalking.
I hope we can help your child stay safe and happy.
(You can see my Wikipedia entry HERE.)
You can contact AAB using the form below
Your message will be received by Louise Burfitt-Dons and you will receive a receipt acknowledgement email. If your email is marked ‘Urgent’ will endeavour to reply within 24 hours.
More information below:
We’ve made quite a splash with our campaigns. But with your help, we can continue to change social attitudes on bullying and abuse wherever it occurs.
To make a donation
Promoting peaceful solutions to counter abuse. Campaigning to influence policy, advising victims, teachers and parents. Building pro-social media support.