Cheshire’s police and crime commissioner David Keane wants young people who have been bullied to tell their story to help improve support services.
It’s part of his anti-bullying commission which is bringing together a group of community representatives to look into incidents of bullying both on and off line.
The commissioner launched the commission earlier this year to tackle the issue of bullying which he says is “an epidemic amongst all generations on our society”.
Now he’s opening a call for evidence which will travel across the county giving local people the opportunity to share their experiences of bullying.
The commissioner wants to capture as many views as possible during the call for evidence. The first stage, which will collect evidence until November before reporting in early 2020, will focus on giving young people under 25 a voice. The second and third stages will explore workplace bullying and the targeting of older people.
It will not only ask people about their experiences at the time of being bullied but also what support services they would like to see in place to support future victims of bullying.
The evidence collated will then be reviewed by the commission members and will be used to develop a set of recommendations for police and other criminal justice organisations, education establishments and elected representatives to consider how they can provide more protection for victims of bullying.
PCC David Keane said: “We see the devastating effects bullying can have on the self-esteem or confidence of young people every day. In some cases it’s even led to suicide or self-harm. With the advent of cyber-bullying, bullying can now be relentless with no respite for its victims.
“We need to do more to protect young people but first we need to understand what support mechanisms need to be in place.
“What better way to do this than speaking to those who have lived experiences of bullying, whether that be someone who’s been bullied themselves or a parent or guardian who has watched their child suffer at the hands of bullies.”
The commissioner and his team will hold community engagement sessions across Cheshire to capture people’s experiences both on and off camera. Some of the footage captured will be used in a documentary centred on giving a realistic portrayal of the effects of bullying on our communities.
The first opportunity to tell your story is at Chester Pride this Saturday (10 August) at the PCC stand. The call for evidence will also travel to other locations across the county between now and the end of November, with scheduled events listed below and more to be announced in the coming weeks and months.
Tuesday 13 August – Warrington VPX, Victoria Park, Warrington, 11am-4pm
Wednesday 14 August – Crewe Party in the Park, Pebblebrook Park, Crewe – 10am-4pm
Thursday 15 August – Widnes VPX, Victoria Park, Widnes, 10am-4pm
Thursday 22 August – Widnes Library, Victoria Square, Widnes, 10.30am-2.30pm
Thursday 29 August – Sandbach Market, High Street, Sandbach, 9am-4pm
Thursday 5 September - Ellesmere Port Sports Village, Stanney Lane, Ellesmere Port, 10am-1pm
Thursday 19 September - Gadbrook Business Park, Northwich, 12pm-3pm
Friday 20 September - Runcorn Knife Crime Event, Runcorn Shopping City, 5.30pm-7.30pm
Sunday 22 September - Chester Pride, Castle Square, 12pm-7pm
Thursday 3 October - Storyhouse, Hunter Street, Chester, 10am-2pm
There’s also the opportunity to tell your story online here.