A child is attacked in a Wrexham school on average every day, according to shocking new figures released today.
Now Plaid Cymru politicians are urging parents to watch out for signs of bullying and to listen more to their children’s concerns after the revelation that more 1200 pupils had been attacked in schools in Wrexham over the past five years.
The figures were released to BBC Wales after a Freedom of Information Request to councils across Wales and show that, in the last school year, 245 children were attacked. That's more than one child per school day.
Mabon ap Gwynfor, Plaid Cymru Assembly candidate in Clwyd South, said that he himself had suffered bullying as a primary school pupil, and that violent attacks were often the physical culmination of other forms of bullying:
“Bullying can have a severe impact on children and can scar them for life. It can knock their self-confidence. These statistics are just the tip of the iceberg as far as other forms of bullying is concerned. The sad fact is that bullying reflects worse on the people that do the bullying, it could be that they themselves are low on self esteem or having a troubled time at home. But it’s the children that are being bullied that then have to cope with the knock on effects.
“Children shouldn’t be afraid to talk out, and adults shouldn’t dismiss a child’s concerns. It’s not a case of a child who is being bullied needing to ‘grow-up’, ‘toughen-up’ or ‘stand-up for themselves’. Admitting to being bullied is a brave first step and they need to know that their family is there to support them. I remember being bullied as a child and I kept it quiet for fear of making it worse. My parents caught on and dealt with it quickly, and I am forever grateful to them.”
The NSPCC say that a large 14% of calls to their Childline service in 2009/2010 was because of bullying.
Marc Jones, Plaid's Assembly candidate for Wrexham, added:
"These are frightening statistics. Bullying can blight a young person's life, whether it's physical attacks or of a more psychological kind. Tackling the small minority who carry out these attacks must be a priority and we must make sure children have the confidence to come forward if there are incidents like these in their schools."