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Leading bullying prevention charity brings charities together and engages help from partner brands, companies and individuals to stand up to bullying

Leading bullying prevention charity Beatbullying is joining forces with organizations Office of the Children’s Commissioner, Action for Children, Children England, Raceonline2012, Demos and Hansard as well as private sector companies, brands, media and celebrities to hold the world’s first ever virtual march on www.beatbullying.org/bigmarch 
The Big March will be a digital first - a truly groundbreaking collaborative campaign hosted entirely online and culminating at No. 10 where marchers will sign a petition asking Government for help to protect kids from bullying, violence and harassment.

Beatbullying is further encouraging Government to set up a Big March Bullying Review. It is hoped that the review will investigate how Government, schools, families and communities can reduce incidents of bullying and give children a life free from violence and harassment.

To mark the launch of Anti-Bullying Week 2010, taking place this year from Monday 15th November, The Big March will see thousands of avatars of children, parents, teachers and celebrities march across computer screens via partner websites to take a stand against bullying, with tens of thousands of parents, kids, teachers and adults expected to participate.

Pivotal to the campaign is the partnerships which Beatbullying has formed with both third sector organizations and private sector companies and brands, which are essential in enabling the charity to mount such a large-scale campaign and spread widespread awareness of their work. MediaCom is working alongside Beatbullying to liaise with global media owners to secure free advertising space and promote the activity worldwide.

Joining forces with Beatbullying and its charity partners are media brands such as MTV, Facebook, First News, Bliss magazine, News of the World, Real Radio, Jazzy Media, M&C Saatchi, Mobstar, MediaCom and The Sun and companies and brands including Google, the Metropolitan Police, TOTAL Little Learners, Robinson Fruit Shoot, Barry M, Stardoll, Piczo, Pom Bear, Habbo, Mumsnet, Girlguiding UK and the National Union of Students, to allow the Big March to make a stand on their websites.

Some partner brands have taken their commitment a step further and built interactive content areas on The Big March website. These areas take the form of sponsored tents which host a variety of educational and fun activities promoting children’s wellbeing.

Celebrities and opinion formers as diverse as Beatbullying ambassador Aston Merrygold, Freddie Flintoff, Sir Michael Parkinson, CyberMentors president Professor Tanya Byron, Children’s Commissioner Maggie Atkinson and top girl band The Saturdays have joined the ranks of corporates and brands to sign the petition to end bullying.

Separately, the Big March Bullying Review Beatbullying is proposing would spend the next 12 months leading up to 2011’s Big March researching how best to tackle bullying, harassment and violence against children. We hope the review, made up of Government representatives, university and charity delegates, young victims of bullying, parents and children, will report their recommendations back to Government.

Emma-Jane Cross, CEO of Beatbullying, comments:

“The Big March represents a completely new way to campaign in the 21st century, giving vulnerable children a voice and an opportunity to be heard, as well as an introduction into how to campaign for social change.

“It is absolutely vital for charities such as Beatbullying to constantly seek innovative new ways to engage Government, as well as the public, particularly in such economically challenging times. We invite all other charities with an interest in protecting children and young people to join the Big March; to combine our voices as we urge Government to commit to do all it can to protect children and young people from all forms of bullying, violence and mistreatment by other children and young people.

“The March will culminate at Number 10 where Beatbullying hopes the petition will be presented virtually to Prime Minister David Cameron by children, teachers, celebrities, charities and industry: an inspirational example of all strands of society working together to eradicate bullying once and for all.

“Essential to this campaign is ensuring that the proposed Big March Bullying review continues on the good work begun by all the marchers by continuing to research the best way to tackle bullying over the next 12 months, ready to present their findings back to Government.

“This way the Big March’s legacy will truly be felt by children everywhere – hopefully in the form of legislation which explicitly renders bullying, violence and harassment against the law.”

Maggie Atkinson, Children's Commissioner for England added:

"I’m delighted to be taking part in the Big March. Far too many children and young people experience bullying and it is important to raise awareness of the devastating effect this can have on their lives. Over the past few years, the problems associated with bullying have been more widely recognised and lots of important work has been done to provide support for victims and tackle problems where they arise. I very much hope that this march will mobilise support against bullying in the virtual world, in schools and right across society and Government."

Clare Tickell, Chief Executive of Action for Children commented:

“Many of us take for granted that the rights of children are protected in the UK, yet bullying and violence is sadly more common than we realise.

“It’s vital that we continue to find effective ways of tackling child bullying - in all its forms. And we must ensure that we encourage young people to speak out for themselves on issues directly affecting them. This can be an incredibly empowering act, and sends a very strong message to those with the power to make a meaningful difference.”

Maggie Jones CEO of Children England added:

“It’s fantastic to see so many different social groups galvanized into taking action to defend the rights of children – giving parents, children, teachers, schools, third sector and industry an opportunity to campaign for social change.”

With more celebrity, corporate and charity partners set to be announced, as well as further components to the activity, the Big March will see people from across industry, showbusiness, media and the third sector stand together with parents, teachers and young people to fight against bullying and champion the wellbeing of young people.”

Martha Lane Fox UK Digital Champion added:

“I’m delighted to be part of such a worthwhile campaign with an important message. It’s vital we engage with people to educate them about using the internet for good.”

For more information, a map of the March 'route', interviews, quotes, wristbands, or to take part in the Big March, please contact julieannepower@frankpr.it/  miraryness@frankpr.it or ring 020 7693 6999

About beatbullying & Cybermentors.org.uk:
Beatbullying is the UK’s leading bullying prevention charity. Founded in 1999, Beatbullying empowers young people to lead anti-bullying campaigns in their schools and local communities, and builds the capacity of local communities to sustain the work. Beatbullying has directly and indirectly worked with 700,000+ young people over the last seven years, assisting and supporting young people that are being bullied, re-educating and changing the behaviour of young people that bully and preventing bullying in schools and communities across the UK. CyberMentors.org.uk is a safe, social networking site providing information and support for young people being bullied or cyber bullied. Young people, aged 11-25, are trained as CyberMentors, in schools and online, so that they can offer support to their peers. Encapsulated by cutting-edge technology, it is a safe website where young people can turn to other young people for help and advice. CyberMentors are also supported by trained counsellors, available online if needed. CyberMentors is a Beatbullying project.

Big March partners include:

- Action for Children
- Chance UK
- Office of the Children’s Commissioner
- Raceonline2012
- Demos
- Hansard
- Children England
- Mumsnet
- Girlguiding UK
- The Metropolitan Police
- JLS official homepage
- TOTAL Little Learners
- Fruit Shoot
- Barry M
- Mobstar
- Habbo
- Stardoll
- Piczo
- Pom Bear
- News of the World
- C4 Battlefront
- The Sun newspaper
- Bliss magazine
- First News
- Children & Young People Now
- Jazzy Media
- M&C Saatchi
- MediaCom
- Frank PR
- Google
- Facebook

The Big March Bullying Review Beatbullying is proposing will be made up of Government representatives, university and charity delegates, young victims of bullying, parents and children, and will report its recommendations back to Government as part of 2011’s Big March. It is hoped that the review will investigate the best means of tackling bullying, violence and harassment against children.

Beatbullying believes, subject to the review’s findings, that legislation is needed in order to tackle bullying and for children to be given the freedom to live a life free from bullying, violence and harassment.

It should be explicitly against the law to hurt, harass or bully children in schools or online. This is what Beatbullying refers to as a Schools Safety Bill http://www.beatbullying.org/dox/what-we-do/news-of-the-world.html and a cyber bullying law. These laws would give children protection from bullying and a refuge in the law but also empower headteachers and parents to take swift and decisive action, knowing the law is on their side.

Published: 08/11/2010 11:17:09

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