Dublin: 40,000 Teenagers To Campaign Against Homophobic Bullying: UPDATED

1 Apr


ADOLESCENCE IS a passage in life synonymous with hormone-fuelled misery, but that is not how contemporary Irish teenagers see it.

Nearly 80 per cent of them are happy to some degree and more than half are quite happy or very happy, according to a detailed survey of Irish teenagers.

A representative sample of 508 teenagers between the ages of 16 and 20 were interviewed for the Unicef Ireland Changing the Future: Experiencing Youth in Contemporary Ireland report.

Unicef said it carried out the survey because there is a dearth of primary information about attitudes among teenagers.

It found that Irish teenagers are acutely aware of the recession and more than half have experienced bullying. They are irreligious to a degree which previous generations would have found quite startling. Only 12 per cent go to a church on a regular basis.

Despite living in a country in the throes of an economic meltdown, only one in five teenagers described their mood as being neutral or unhappy.

Unicef Ireland executive director Melanie Verwoerd said it was “very heartwarming” that Irish teenagers were so happy, but she contrasted that with their pessimism about the future, as one- third said they did not expect things to get any better in the near future.

“We believe it is important for us to acknowledge this significant number of young people for whom being young in Ireland is significantly more challenging, and less positive an experience,” she said.

The survey found that 97 per cent of teenagers were aware of the recession. That manifested itself overwhelmingly in less household money (93 per cent). One-quarter of all Irish teenagers have direct experience of a parent being made redundant. A total of 4 per cent had to move school as a result of the recession.

Bullying remains a serious concern for all teenagers. A total of 55 per cent were bullied. Though “cyberbullying” was quite common (20 per cent), traditional forms of bullying were most prevalent. Of those who were bullied, 96 per cent were bullied with words and 43 per cent were bullied with actions.

Some 24 per cent of those who were physically bullied were beaten up, 33 per cent were attacked, 55 per cent had things thrown at them and 59 per cent had things stolen.

Ms Verwoerd said it was an indictment of society that the issue was not being dealt with properly. The statistics were backed up by comments from many who participated in the survey who said they felt physically sick, completely isolated or suicidal as a result of bullying.

She also said Unicef Ireland was taken by surprise by the fact that only 12 per cent of teenagers attended a religious service on a regular basis, a result which she described as “incredibly significant”.

Nearly one-quarter said they were not religious, 21 per cent said they were spiritual but not religious, 23 per cent said they were religious but didn’t go to church regularly, and 14 per cent said they used to be religious but didn’t go to church anymore. The majority of Irish young people report that religion does not affect their happiness, with only 40 per cent saying that it does.

Yesterday’s report is one of four that will be published by Unicef this year arising out of the survey.

Further reports will cover mental health issues, drink and drugs, and sexual behaviour.


37% think money issues will improve over the next two years

57% say religion makes them neither happy nor unhappy

55% reported being bullied, with 96% of that figure bullied with words

14% of Irish teenagers say they are very happy

38% say they are quite happy while

7% said they were very unhappy

12% say they go to a church on a regular basis



UP to 40,000 teenagers are expected to take part in a nationwide campaign next week aimed at stamping out homophobic bullying at school and persuading the Government to address the problem with urgency.

Yesterday, BeLonG To Youth Services launched its annual campaign, Stand Up! which runs from April 4-15. The campaign, which was launched by Dominic Hannigan TD, aims to raise awareness of homophobic bullying in Ireland today.

As part of the campaign, more than 1,600 secondary schools and youth organisations throughout Ireland have been issued Stand Up! packs containing information on the subject for teachers and youth workers.

The campaign is supported by several Irish celebrities, including the cast of RTÉ series RAW and Pure Mule, RTÉ presenter Bláthnaid Ní Chofaigh, comedian Katherine Lynch and model Vogue Williams.

Commenting on the campaign, Michael Barron, chief executive of BeLonG To, said: “On foot of the commitment in the Programme for Government to combat homophobic bullying, we call on the Government to work with us to develop a national action plan to address this huge problem in a concerted way.

“Over the next two weeks young people all over the country will stand up against homophobic bullying and will show their support for their gay friends. This is a fantastic and powerful action from young people. When this is combined with real action at a government level we should see major inroads being made in ending this harassment. In 2011 we should not allow any young person to be harassed for who they are.”

Research supported by the HSE’s National Office for Suicide Prevention has found that almost three in five (58%) LGBT young people are bullied at school, with one in five skipping school due to fear of harassment.

The study also found that half of LGBT people under the age of 25 have seriously thought of ending their lives, 20% have attempted suicide and 27% self-harmed at least once.

Dominic Hannigan said: “Over the years, BeLonG To has played a leading role in opening our eyes to homophobic bullying. I feel especially proud to be part of this event because our Programme for Government includes homophobic bullying as a priority issue in schools.”







www.belongto.org & www.spunout.ie & www.teenline.ie & www.letsomeoneknow.ie


THE Press Ombudsman has warned young people that material they publish on social networking websites such as Facebook and Twitter could be accessed and used by journalists.

Professor John Horgan said the details they post about themselves online was unlikely to be protected by any privacy rules.

Speaking at the publication of the annual reports of both his office and the Press Council yesterday, Prof Horgan said many such website users failed to activate any security measures to prevent general access to personal information.

As a result, he warned few would be likely to successfully complain that newspapers should not be able to access such information.

In his annual report, Prof Horgan said that blogs featured prominently in articles that were the subject of two complaints last year.

“Both of these complaints, and their outcomes, underline the risks run by members of the public who blithely put material into the public domain, heedless of the potential consequences of media interest in their activities,” said Prof Horgan. “The web is, by and large, rarely a private space.”

Mr Horgan said the number of complaints to the Office of the Press Ombudsman in 2010 at 315 was largely unchanged from previous years. They resulted in 53 complaints being subject to a formal investigation, of which 34% were upheld. The majority of cases related to issues concerning accuracy and privacy.

The chairman of the Press Council, Daithí Ó Ceallaigh, expressed hope that web-based publications would in time come to see the value of quality control and best professional practice. Mr Ó Ceallaigh said the traditional press now had an independent regulatory system which is wholly absent for the internet.

Mr Ó Ceallaigh said there was evidence to suggest the establishment of such a system had already resolved complaints which would in the past have ended up in the courts.


2 Responses to “Dublin: 40,000 Teenagers To Campaign Against Homophobic Bullying: UPDATED”


  1. Chiang-Cruise » [Ireland] Stand Up! – Don’t Stand for Homophobic Bullying - 0AprilJ2011

    […] Dublin: 40,000 Teenagers To Campaign Against Homophobic Bullying Categories: Uncategorized Tags: Comments (0) Trackbacks (0) Leave a comment Trackback […]

  2. Stand Up! – Don’t Stand for Homophobic Bullying | Stephen Spillane - 0AprilJ2011

    […] Dublin: 40,000 Teenagers To Campaign Against Homophobic Bullying (lostchildreninthewilderness.wordpress.com) […]

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