Nearly half of all young people are bullied every day at school, new research suggests.
More than two thirds (70 per cent) of young people said they have considered changing the way they look because they are being teased, while a quarter (24 per cent) said they had felt suicidal because of being bullied.
The figures, revealed in a survey by the Diana Award charity, show 45 per cent of young people are bullied at school every day.
The alarming data has emerged as 10 million children return to British schools this week following the summer holidays.
Experts branded the findings “deeply worrying” and said many schools are “failing” their pupils by not doing enough to stamp out the problem.
Alex Holmes, head of the Diana Award anti-bullying campaign, said it’s incredibly worrying for parents when they send their children into schools thinking it will be a safe and happy place.
“Young people spend 11,000 hours in full-time education; to think they can be abused is awful,” Holmes said.
“It is incredibly worrying young people have thought about suicide because of bullying. Most of those young people said they have been bullied every day, and that constant abuse had got to them.”
He said their research showed that schools were failing to keep young people safe and happy, and it was “unacceptable”.
The charity, which was set up in legacy to the late Princess of Wales and works in thousands of schools tackling bullying, questioned 1,865 young people aged between nine and 17 years old with most (72 per cent) in high school.
A string of celebrities backed the charity’s anti-bullying campaign and told of the abuse they suffered at school.
James McVey, 21, singer and guitarist in The Vamps, says he did not feel safe walking down the corridors at his school in Dorset because of the constant bullying he suffered from another pupil.
“I would be punched in the stomach whenever I was seen in the corridors, and told that I would to be ‘cut up and hidden under the floorboards’,” he said.
“I tried messaging him online but there was no reasoning at all. It was a happy day for me when he left school the following year.”
* Readers seeking support and information about suicide prevention can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or visit www.lifeline.org.au/gethelp.