Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Assembly to debate Bullying of Children and Young People with Disabilities

11 February, 2008


Sinn Féin Health Spokesperson, North Belfast MLA Carál Ní Chuilín is calling on the Executive to carry out a 'thematic inspection across public bodies' to establish their response to bullying experienced by children and young people with disabilities.

Ms Ní Chuilín said:

"Bullying of Children and Young People with disabilities is a major issue and we need to look at the experiences that people with disabilities, and their families, have in using public services.

"A recent Mencap report 'Bullying wrecks lives: the experiences of children and young people with a learning disability' highlighted the reality that children and young people of all ages report bullying as the single biggest barrier to them living their lives to the full.

"Bullying makes children scared to go out; it means for example that young people with a disability are missing out on opportunities to learn, make friends, socialise and play. This leads to isolation and social exclusion throughout their lives.

"Many children and young people with disabilities already have low self-esteem and being taunted, intimidated and abused because of their disability only further damages their sense of self worth.

"These are major barriers and we need to take a comprehensive look at all the experiences of children and young people with disabilities and their families and make sure that we design services that overcome these experiences." ENDS

Note to Editors

Motion - Bullying of Children and Young People with Disabilities

That this Assembly calls on the Executive to carry out a thematic inspection across public bodies, to establish their response to bullying experienced by children and young people with disabilities.

[Ms C Ní Chuilín]
[Mrs M O'Neill]
[Ms S Ramsey]

Key findings of the Bullying wrecks lives: the experiences of children and young people with a learning disability survey:

  • Eight out of ten children and young people with a learning disability are bullied
  • Eight out of ten are scared to go out because they are frightened they might be bullied
  • Six out of ten children and young people with a learning disability had been physically hurt by bullies
  • Five out of ten children and young people who had experienced bullying said that they stayed away from the places where they have been bullied in the past
  • Children and young people with a learning disability are twice as likely to be bullied as other children.

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