New resource aims to tackle bullying of young migrants

A new anti-bullying resource has been launched amid a suggested rise in negative attitudes towards migrant children since Brexit negotiations began.

A survey of young EU nationals living in Scotland found 77% have experienced xenophobia and racism, and 50% said they have seen more incidents since the process of leaving the EU started.

University of Strathclyde researchers questioned 1,000 EU nationals aged 12 to 18 between October 2016 and April 2017.

It has teamed up with Scotland’s anti-bullying service, respectme, to develop a new resource for use in the classroom and youth groups.

It aims to challenge bullying based on prejudice and improve understanding of the experiences of young people from a migrant background.

Project leader Dr Daniela Sime, reader in education and social justice at Strathclyde, said: “The study highlighted that bullying experienced by EU nationals living here, many identifying as Scottish, has been on the rise since the Brexit discussions and motions began.

“This is a hidden problem in our schools and youth settings, and one that we can categorically link back to the political unrest across the country.

“We have been working with respectme to develop a new resource that addresses the behaviours that lead to bullying and hope there is widespread uptake of this among schools, youth leaders and even parents and carers.”

Katie Ferguson, service director at respectme, said: “The societal impacts of Brexit are being widely reported but we shouldn’t overlook the discrimination and impacts experienced by children and young people.

“No young person should have to experience bullying because of their nationality or identity and we hope the resource can contribute to greater understanding and respect by helping to deconstruct some of the prejudice and misconceptions that can lead to bullying.”

The materials are free to download from

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said: “EU citizens will always be welcome in Scotland and every child, no matter where they are from, deserves to grow up in a healthy and happy environment.

“Bullying of any kind is unacceptable and we are absolutely committed to working with schools, councils and respectme to prevent bullying and educate our young people.”

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