Anti-Bullying Week 2021 Theme Announcement

Anti-Bullying Week 2021 Theme Announcement

14 May 2021

respectme, Scotland’s anti-bullying service, announces the theme for Anti-Bullying Week 2021, Monday 15 November to Friday 19 November, as ‘One Kind Word’. The theme has been developed by the UK’s leading anti-bullying organisations, in collaboration with young people. The campaign call to action is as follows;

Ask if someone’s OK. Say you’re sorry. Just say hey.

In a world that can sometimes feel like it’s filled with negativity, one kind word can provide a moment of hope. It can be a turning point. It can change someone’s perspective. It can change their day. It can change the course of a conversation and break the cycle of bullying.

Best of all, one kind word leads to another. Kindness fuels kindness. So from the playground to Parliament, and from our phones to our homes, together, our actions can fire a chain reaction that powers positivity.

It starts with one kind word. It starts today.

The ‘One Kind Moment’ campaign will go live later this year against the backdrop of our ongoing #WhatMadeItBetter? campaign, which continues explore the approaches that helped people deal with bullying behaviour, as well as providing a platform for young people to engage with and feed into anti-bullying solutions. 

Katie Ferguson, Director of respectme, said: “Anti-Bullying Week is a fantastic annual opportunity to shine the light on positive anti-bullying strategies, as well as sending out a clear message that bullying in not acceptable in any form. This year’s theme pays tribute to what we have learned over the past months - despite the many challenges and restrictions on our lives, what is clear is a strong sense of community and small acts of kindness can change someone’s life.

“We are delighted to be supporting this united approach to Anti-Bullying Week. Whilst continuing with our #WhatMadeItBetter? campaign into 2022, this year’s theme provides additional and creative opportunities to engage with people of all ages on the importance of kindness to other and breaking the cycle of bullying.”

Can’t wait? Look at our #WhatMadeItBetter? campaign mini-site today at to reignite your anti-bullying journey. The website provides free campaign resources for anyone involved in influencing the life of a young person to help kick-start meaningful conversations about bullying and about what made it better.

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Anti-Bullying Week 2020 Launch


A national campaign to address bullying behaviour among Scotland’s young people has launched during Anti Bullying Week 2020 (16-20 November).

Led by Scotland’s anti-bullying service respectme, #WhatMadeItBetter? launches amid a changing landscape of bullying as a direct result of the Covid-19 pandemic, with 47% of young people in Scotland reporting that they saw or experienced online bullying during lockdown and 59% witnessing an increase in prejudice-based posts, comments and/or attitudes*.

The campaign seeks to empower young people with advice and approaches from those who have experienced bullying, after a consultation with young people and professionals highlighted that the management of bullying related incidents was a key area of concern.

With this in mind, respectme has created a suite of resources for primary and secondary aged children to help approach and guide conversations at a time when learning supervision is has been reduced, while also supporting young people with advice from those who have been there themselves.

Anyone involved in influencing the life of a young person is invited to download the free resources available at

Supporting the call is the Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills, John Swinney, who said: “Anti-Bullying Week is an ideal opportunity to send a clear message that bullying of any kind is completely unacceptable and when it occurs we all have a responsibility to address it.

“Children and young people need to be educated about all faiths and beliefs and learn about tolerance, respect, kindness and good citizenship. We want all children and young people to be able to speak to someone they trust when bullying happens and that is why campaigns like this are so important.

“I look forward to taking part in Anti-Bullying week to highlight to those being bullied, that things will get better, and how we can be that person that did make things better.”

Wendy Harrington, Director of respectme, said: “Young people are heavily impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic restrictions, with every aspect of their lives – from school to home to social activities – affected in some way.

“There’s a wealth of evidence highlighting a rise in bullying behaviour since lockdown, particularly in an online setting, which has no time boundary and is difficult to monitor and supervise. This makes Anti-Bullying Week and the campaign all the more poignant as we seek to start the conversation and share valuable advice.

“The #WhatMadeItBetter? resources are free for anyone to explore, and we’d urge adults who have experienced bulling to get involved and help us shape future resources by taking our online survey which looks at what more can be done to support young people.”

Take part in the #WhatMadeItBetter? survey at:

Speaking out to young people is James Allan, frontman of award-winning Scottish indie band Glasvegas, who shared his personal advice: “As humans, we carry so many experiences with us, and in some way can blame ourselves or believe what other people say.

“If anybody does experience these things, try and challenge that insecurity or doubt in yourself and to know it’s the way we’re wired up. Things will get better and, in the meantime, be yourself, stay true to yourself and believe in yourself.” 

While the campaign launches during Anti-Bullying Week, it will run across the school year until July 2021 to continuously highlight the options available to young people and remind them that things can and will get better.

Stay up to date with the campaign and Anti-Bullying Week activities by following respectme on Facebook and Twitter.  

ENDS                                                                                      16 November 2020

*Source: Time for Inclusive Education ‘Online in Lockdown’ report



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Student's anti-bullying work celebrated by respectme


11 March 2021

A teenager from West Lothian has been recognised by respectme, Scotland’s anti-bullying service, for her creative and thought-provoking short video ‘Who Am I?’ which addresses bullying behaviour head on and how it makes others feel.

The short video is being celebrated as part of respectme’s #WhatMadeItbetter? campaign, which seeks to empower young people with advice and approaches from those who have experienced bullying. Sophie’s top tip for anyone experiencing bullying is to speak to someone as it can lift some of the weight off your shoulders, “you don’t have to go though it in silence”, she says.

Sophie O’Mullan (18), created ‘Who Am I?’ as part of her advanced higher portfolio at St Kentigern's Academy. Now in her first year at the University of Dundee, Sophie said: “I’m so happy that my school work is getting the chance to reach a bigger audience as it has an important anti-bullying message at its heart. The concept of the augmented reality video is based on the popular guessing game and represents that small things people say can have a huge impact on someone’s life. I hope the video encourages young people to speak up and ask for help if they are experiencing bullying.”

Katie Ferguson, Director of respectme, said: “We are delighted to be able to shine the light on Sophie’s creative school work as part of our anti-bullying campaigning. ‘Who Am I?’ visually and creatively packs a powerful message. Words can have a big impact on someone’s life, whether they are face to face or online during this ongoing pandemic.

“We are in the middle of an important development in our campaigning work, it’s a real opportunity for those with lived experiences of bullying to help shape our future work. Our campaign resources are free for anyone to explore and include anti-bullying learning resources for parents and carers, schools, youth and sports groups to discuss and address bullying behaviours. By sharing the little things that helped you, we can highlight nationally that things can get better for others.”

The ‘What Made It Better?’ campaign launched during anti-bullying week last year (16-20 November) to explore the approaches that helped people deal with bullying behaviour, and continues to provides a platform for young people to feed into anti-bullying solutions.  The campaign mini-site provides free campaign resources for anyone involved in influencing the life of a young person to help kick-start meaningful conversations about bullying and about what made it better.

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Dean Park Primary School Celebrate Diversity Week

Dean Park Primary School Celebrate a Collaborative Approach to Diversity Week

26 April 2021

Dean Park Primary School delivered their first Diversity Week in 2020 following a successful collaboration between the Parent Council, Teachers and their Pupil Leadership Team. Due to the success of the week the school will enter into their second annual Diversity Week today (26-30 April).

The aim of the week-long education programme in 2020 was to celebrate diversity, raise more awareness about the school’s unique differences and similarities, to promote increased understanding, respect, kindness and empowerment, so that all pupils could feel included and flourish.

The Parent Council was supported by the P7 Pupil Leadership Team to design activities for the whole school to be involved in. Each day of the week, pupils engaged in learning activities focused around a specific themes including racism, gender stereotypes and religion.

Overall a host of learning opportunities were on offer throughout the week, with pupils exploring diversity picture books, creating diversity themed art work for the playgroup and engaging in a range of discussions around diversity and kindness. The depth of learning achieved during the week will help create a strong foundation of understand on which conversations about equality and diversity can continue to build across the entire year.

Mrs Smith from Dean Park Primary School, commented: “Diversity week was a great way for us all to immerse ourselves in the wider world of diversity and allowed the pupils to understand themes like racism and stereotypes in a safe positive environment. The pupils enjoyed creating music from around the world, learning about different cultures and beliefs. They learned about the life of work and possible stereotypes and unconscious bias we may all have.”

Saafia Rahman, Dean Park Parent Council co-vice chair, added: "This is a great example of parental engagement and pupil empowerment in the curriculum and of what can be achieved when there are strong partnerships between everyone across the school community. It was a fulfilling and impactful week of learning for pupils and their families on necessary and thought-provoking topics, to promote awareness and understanding of difference and similarities, educate about world events and to showcase, celebrate and take pride in difference. We hope this year’s Diversity Week will be even better than the last!”

A representative from the P7 Pupil Leadership Team, said: “Diversity Week gave us a chance to ask awkward questions and know that we will not be judged for it.”

Katie Ferguson, Director of respectme, said: “As Scotland’s national anti-bullying agency we are delighted to see Dean Park’s collaborative approach to designing and delivering a successful Diversity Week. Celebrating diversity highlights to young people the importance of respect and fairness for all. We all have similarities and differences – and we are each completely unique and that is something to be celebrated. 

“The depth covered across the week will no doubt lay a strong foundation of understanding that will help keep equality and diversity as a key focus across the entire year. That is what we need to see replicated across the entire country to achieve transformational change and a more equal society.

“We are thrilled to shine the light on the work of the school, parents and pupils in 2020, especially against the backdrop of a national pandemic, and look forward seeing highlights from this year’s Diversity Week.”

To view Dean Park PS's case study, click here

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Coronavirus Outbreak: What's happening at respectme?

Following the latest Government advice, the respectme team will now be working remotely from home. We are currently taking a range of measures to ensure the continued delivery of our service where possible, while ensuring we protect the health and well-being of our staff, partners, and those who benefit from our services.

Our online channels will continue to be monitored as usual and our office will remain contactable through our regular phone number: 0344 800 8600

Please note – respectme do not operate a helpline service. We provide practical advice and guidance on bullying behaviour. If you are worried about your child and would like to talk to someone in confidence, you can call Parentline Scotland on 0800 028 2233. If your child is being bullied and would like to speak to an adult in confidence they can contact Childline on 0800 1111.

External meetings will continue to be held via video link where possible. All external training dates in March and April have now been postponed. If you are scheduled to attend training during these months you will receive communications from our office directly.

Our face to face campaign events for March and April have been postponed, and campaign activity will be moved online where possible.

We will continue to update this page on any further changes. If you have any questions, or would like further information on our continued delivery of service, please contact:

We know that these are uncertain and difficult times for many. If you are a young person, or you care for and/or work with a young person who is feeling anxious or worried about Covid-19, Young Scot have developed a helpful resource which you can access here.

Many thanks

The respectme team.

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Why children need the digital skills to keep them safe from online bullying

As the start of the new term approaches for schools across Scotland, find out more about what you can do to help young people stay safe online - and help prevent online bullying: Why children need the digital skills to keep them safe from online bulling

Katie Ferguson, Director of respectme, said: 

"To the adults in their lives, particularly those who aren’t familiar with social media platforms, it can often feel like being online is the domain of children and young people – and they always appear to be one step ahead.

"However, the existence of children and young people online and their technological savviness doesn’t necessarily make them “digital natives”. In reality, they need support to develop digital literacy skills; they need to learn how to navigate relationships and keep themselves safe online.

"Adults play a vital role here in helping them to understand the implications of where they go, what they do and say online, and to offer options of what to do if they are worried about something that has happened."

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Recording and Monitoring of Bullying Incidents in Scotland

Monday 28 May sees the launch of the Scottish Government’s national guidance, Respect for All: Supplementary Guidance on Recording and Monitoring of Bullying Incidents in Schools.  

Katie Ferguson, Director at respectme, Scotland’s Anti-Bullying Service said:

“Effective monitoring and recording of bullying incidents is an essential feature of the consistent and coherent approach to anti-bullying that we seek for all of Scotland’s children and young people. It can create a clearer picture of bullying behaviour and its impact, and can help  identify trends or patterns that allow for more focused  responses and improved prevention.  

“We welcome this guidance and look forward to supporting this work through our continued offer of free training, policy advice and information for all those working with children and young people.” 

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Consultancy Opportunity

We have an excellent consultancy opportunity for an individual to support the review and development of the respectme anti-bullying training programme for professionals working with children and young people. 

We are looking for a highly skilled individual with significant experience of designing and developing coherent, effective and engaging training programmes and materials.  

The ability to work in partnership with respectme is crucial, this includes understanding and working with respectme key messages, aligning to our organisational values and principles and working alongside our team members.

To obtain the tender brief please visit Public Contacts Scotland (you may be asked to log in) or email The deadline for written responses to the brief is 5pm on Tuesday 29 May 2018. If required, interviews will be held in Glasgow on Tuesday 12th or Wednesday 13th June 2018.

Only those selected for interview will be notified.  If you have not heard from us within two weeks of the closing date, you have been unsuccessful on this occasion.

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Work with us - Consultant Trainer Vacancies

We have exciting new opportunities for Consultant Trainers to join our team.

We are looking for dynamic and motivated individuals to join our existing pool of Consultant Trainers to deliver our anti-bullying training programme to a wide range of stakeholders across Scotland.

Previous training experience is essential, as is the ability to inspire a diverse audience with an innovative approach to anti-bullying.

respectme Consultant Trainers are self-employed and receive a daily rate of £300 (incl.VAT) plus expenses.  Further details can be found here: Consultant Trainers - Job Description 2018

If you are interested in applying for one of these posts, please forward your CV and supporting statement, outlining relevant skills and experience, to: 

Closing date is Tuesday 24 April 2018. Interviews will be held in Glasgow on Thursday 3 May 2018.

Only those selected for interview will be notified.  If you have not heard from us within two weeks of the closing date, you have been unsuccessful on this occasion.

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Respect for All - A Guide to Anti-Bullying for Scotland's Children & Young People

Today, 15 November, sees the launch of the Scottish Government's new anti-bullying guidance; Respect for All

Katie Rafferty, Director at respectme, Scotland’s Anti-Bullying Service said:

“We are pleased today, during Anti-Bullying Week, to support the launch of Respect for All; the National Approach to Anti-Bullying for Scotland’s Children and Young People.  We  welcomed the opportunity to work collaboratively with the Scottish Government and others to develop this guidance; to ensure children and young people receive a coherent and consistent approach to bullying.  

“For all adults who play a role in the lives of children and young people, this guidance creates a vital opportunity for renewed focus and energy on preventing and effectively responding to bullying, to ensure every child in Scotland realises their right to live free from bullying and harassment.

 “We welcome the fresh impetus this guidance places on the prevention of bullying, by promoting positive cultures and relationships based on respect, and the explicit message that that bullying motivated by prejudiced attitudes has no place in Scotland and must be swiftly addressed.

“The challenge now is to ensure these vital messages are translated into a consistent and coherent approach to anti-bullying across Scotland. We look forward to supporting this work through our continued offer of free training, policy advice and information for all those adults working with children and young people. 

“Alongside Respect for All we are also delighted to see the launch of ‘Addressing Inclusion’, a resource developed in partnership by LGBT Youth Scotland and respectme to complement the national guidance and provide more specific information on how education practitioners can address homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying.”   

View Respect for All: the National Approach to Anti-Bullying for Scotland's Children and Young People

View Addressing Inclusion: Effectively challenging Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia

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Get involved this Anti-Bullying Week 13-17 November 2017

29 September 2017

During Anti-Bullying Week we are asking adults and young people alike to get involved in a national conversation about what #respectmeans to them – encouraging them to show leadership against bullying and reflect on their own and others’ behaviour. Respect is fundamental to all relationships – including online relationships – and it should be at the heart of how we treat each other. We want to send the message that positive cultures based on respect prevent bullying and we can all make a difference.

We will have a range of resources for practitioners available to order or download from our website from 30 October, including new posters, postcards and activity plans.

There are lots of ways you can get involved and share the message across your networks.

Find out more about our activities and how you can get involved.

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Top tips for parents and carers who are concerned about bullying

14 August 2017

Research published today (14 August) by Action for Children Scotland, has highlighted that school bullying is one of the biggest concerns for parents as their children return to school.

Responding to the research findings, Katie Rafferty, Director of respectme Scotland’s Anti-Bullying Service, said:

“The start of the new school year can be a stressful time for children, young people and parents alike. Bullying behaviour can leave parents feeling anxious, out of their depth, and unsure of what to do or where to turn to help their child.

“There isn’t one, single solution to addressing bullying but adults can make a huge difference in children’s lives by helping them regain their voice and choose for themselves how they want to respond to bullying behaviour.

“respectme has a range of resources available for children and young people and parents and carers, which provide practical advice and guidance for dealing with bullying behaviour.”
For parents and carers who are trying to support a child who is being bullied, here are some top tips to bear in mind:

Don't panic! Remaining calm supports good listening and is reassuring for your child.

Give your full attention. This is reassuring and shows you are taking them seriously. Explain the reasons for your concern. Feeding back sensitively what you have noticed can help your child to see more clearly how bullying is impacting on them.

Talk to them about where they go online. Establish a clear understanding of the sites they use and how they access them.

What do they want you to do? Exploring this will make your child feel valued and will help you to understand what support they need.

Keep Listening! If they are reluctant to talk straight away, remind them that you are always available to listen and they can talk to you at any time. And remember that the impacts of bullying can last, even when the behaviour has stopped.

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Statement in response to Equalities & Human Rights Committee's Report

7 July 2017

Today - Thursday 7 July the Equalities and Human Rights Committee made recommendations to the Scottish Government, following its inquiry into Bullying and Harassment of children and young people in Scottish Schools. The report can be accessed here.

Our statement in response to the Committee's recommendations can be viewed below:

Director of respectme, Katie Rafferty said:

“Bullying in all its forms is unacceptable. No child should be made to feel threatened or anxious by bullying behaviour – an experience that can have far-reaching and long- lasting consequences on their lives.

The Equalities and Human Right’s Committee’s Inquiry into bullying and harassment has raised very concerning issues and we welcome their work. The Inquiry thorough and consultative and we welcome its recommendations.

Early intervention is essential to teaching children and young people the values of respect, inclusion and fairness, and to equip them with the practical skills to develop mutually healthy and respectful relationships.

And this includes creating environments from the earliest possible stage, where diversity is celebrated and valued. Where racist, homophobic, gender-based and all other forms of prejudice-based bullying are effectively challenged, and where all schools and youth settings explicitly commit to challenging prejudice-based bullying. Our 2014 research showed that the most successful anti-bullying initiatives are embedded within a positive ethos and culture and don’t just focus on individual incidents.

While schools and other organisations who work with children have a role to play, we shouldn’t forget that parents and carers play a vital role for both children who bully and those being bullied. Work to address bullying needs to take into account the strong influence parents and carers have on children’s lives and harness this to establish positive environments, and mirror those being developed in schools and other settings.

We agree with the Committee that recording bullying incidents will help us build a better picture of where and how children and young people experience bullying in Scotland and identify trends in bullying behaviour. However, data shouldn’t be used to rank organisations or make decisions about how well they are addressing bullying. We need to remember that recording and monitoring data in itself does not change behaviour. Rather, it should be used to inform the preventative measures and interventions that can.

While it’s clear that there is still much to be done around anti-bullying in Scotland, it’s important to recognise the good work that is being carried out within schools and local authorities. respectme will continue to work with schools and other organisations who work with young people to deliver training and resources, to give adults the practical skills and confidence to deal with bullying behaviour.

We look forward to the publication of Respect for All , which is crucial to ensuring that children and young people across Scotland receive appropriate and consistent responses to bullying behaviour.”

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New director

21 April 2017

We are delighted to welcome our new Director, Katie Rafferty to the team! Katie joins respectme at an exciting time as the service enters its tenth year of delivery and when Scottish Government is refreshing its national approach to anti-bullying for Scotland’s children and young people. Most recently Katie worked in the children’s sector as Policy and Campaigns Manager for the National Deaf Children’s Society in Scotland, a UK wide organisation supporting deaf children and their families. With a great interest in issues facing young people, her previous roles include working with the National Union of Students in Scotland and Childline.

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respectme Director,  Katie Rafferty reflects on the anti-bullying service’s accomplishments to date and considers what still needs to be done to address bullying in Scotland. Read more here.

The 5Rights Youth Commission recently published their report on how young people can enjoy their rights in the digital world. Read their report here.

The Children's Parliament recently launched the findings of its investigation in to bullying, which included '10 Learning Points for Adults'. We were invited to contribute a guest blog, which outlines how our approach mirrors each of these 10 points. Read 'Children's Voices at the Heart of Practice'.

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