Closure of Northern Ireland Anti-Bullying Forum

We regret to announce the closure of the Northern Ireland Anti-Bullying Forum from 31 March 2023, due to the end of our longstanding funding from the Department of Education.

The Northern Ireland Anti Bullying Forum (NIABF) has spearheaded anti-bullying work in Northern Ireland for over 18 years. NIABF was established by Save the Children, at the request of the Department of Education, and later hosted by the National Children’s Bureau, to connect statutory and voluntary sector agencies to address pupil bullying in schools through provision of information, signposting to sources of support and organising NI’s annual Anti-Bullying Week.

NIABF’S Proudest Achievements

NIABF is immensely proud of our work together over the years, including...

Anti-Bullying Week

NIABF ABW example of activity

Annual Anti-Bullying Week activities have involved over 90% of schools and 300,000 children and young people over the 18 years - with 87% of schools who took part in Anti-Bullying Week 2022 stating that the campaign encouraged new anti-bullying initiatives in their setting. We had over 17,000 entries to the NIABF Creative Arts Competition in recent years. The campaign has provided resources, events and activities for professionals, parents & carers and children and young people.

Another example of ABW activity in NI

Each year, young people and adults alike got involved to help spread awareness of bullying, highlighting the impact and promoting prevention. It has been a highly successful campaign that engaged schools, communities and workplaces.

The week included a large-scale promotional drive with educational resources being shared with every school in NI, along with council buildings and community and youth organisations. Each year we held a media/social media drive that included a social media toolkit which was shared widely, and promotional posters which could be found on buses and at bus stops across Northern Ireland.

Creating change

Our work contributed to the introduction and implementation of the Addressing Bullying in Schools (NI) Act 2016 and the development of new guidance, including The Effective Responses to Bullying Behaviour and resources to support pupils who experience bullying. We have engaged with four nations work to align and embed anti-bullying messaging across all schools through a common theme in Anti-Bullying Week.

Our anti-bullying team in Northern Ireland

We have worked tirelessly to help protect those most at risk of bullying over the years, creating guidance and resources to support targeted groups such as Looked after children, children with disabilities and LGBTQ+ young people. Most of all we are proud of the Forum members who have given their time and expertise during incredibly tough times for the voluntary sector. We know that bringing members together to develop a collaborative approach to anti-bullying has had a lasting impact on our young people. Members wrote key inserts for guidance, hosted workshops for practitioners, worked together on many consultation responses, shared their own anti-bullying work, and contributed to over 260 resources.

The voices of young people

Involving Young People

Through our work with young people in a range of ways including through our Youth Forum, we have been steered by many inspiring young people through the years, all with a shared passion of tackling bullying. Not only have they developed and designed resources for children and young people and contributed to campaigns and research, they have lobbied politicians and people in power to express the seriousness of bullying in the lives of children and young people and demand change.

Foyle College

Although NIABF will no longer be in operation beyond 31 March 2023, our member organisations will continue to deliver high quality services to improve the lives of children and young people across Northern Ireland.

We are comforted to know that the Education Authority’s newly established Addressing Bullying in Schools Implementation Team (ABSIT) is in place to support schools with the implementation of the new Addressing Bullying in Schools (NI) Act 2016.  ABSIT will “continue to connect, collaborate and consult with young people, parents, carers, the voluntary and statutory sectors, experts in the field and community organisations to build on the work of the NIABF.  ABSIT’s aim is to develop and implement a comprehensive, consistent and strategic approach to preventing and addressing bullying type concerns across Northern Ireland.” 

If you have questions or require support, please contact the Education Authority’s ABSIT Team (Grace Crilly) at [email protected] or 028 38314462.

Thank you from the Northern Ireland Anti Bullying Forum.