New study finds quarter of youngsters bullied
VERBAL abuse is rife in schools with one in four youngsters saying they have been bullied in the last year, research suggests.
Many more young people have seen or heard others subjected to verbal bullying, it says.
Campaigners raised concerns that verbal insults - such as name calling and the use of derogatory language - is seen as less serious than other types of bullying, warning that the emotional impact on victims can be just as damaging.
A poll of almost 1,000 11 to 16-year-olds, commissioned by the Anti-Bullying Alliance, reveals that 26pc of youngsters say they have been verbally bullied in the last year.
Of these, 79pc said it had happened at school.
Two thirds (66pc) of those questioned said they had seen or heard this type of abuse in the last year.
The survey, published to mark the start of Anti-Bullying Week, reveals that many youngsters are concerned about verbal bullying.
Four fifths (81pc) said it was a problem in their school or local area, and of these 12pc said it was a "very big" problem.
The findings also show that around one in seven (14pc) of all the youngsters surveyed said that they had considered missing school because they were worried about being bullied.
Parents and teachers were the people a child was most likely to go to for help about bullying, the survey found.
Ross Hendry, chair of the Anti-Bullying Alliance said the results highlight how much of a problem verbal bullying is.
"Sometimes there is a tendency to see verbal bullying as being less serious than physical bullying," he said.
"But the emotional and psychological impact can be just as damaging and may affect young people's self-esteem and confidence to the point where they don't want to go to school."
He said that it as the figures show that most verbal bullying occurs in schools, it is vital that teachers, parents and pupils work together to prevent youngsters from being bullied.
"Casual name calling and the use derogatory language - so common in our schools and in society more generally - can lead to verbal bullying being seen as acceptable,' Mr Hendry said.
The theme of this year's Anti-Bullying Week is 'stop and think: words can hurt'.
:: The TNS Omnibus survey questioned 875 11-16-year-olds in England in September and October.