Wales

Law-change call for schools to record all bullying

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Media captionLinda James said there needs to be a "consistent definition" of bullying.

There are calls for schools in Wales to be legally required to record all incidents of bullying.

Anti-bullying charity, Bullies Out wants a true understanding of what is going on.

Currently, schools must record all racist incidents but there is no legal requirement for them to record other types of bullying.

The Welsh Government said it was in the process of reviewing its policy "to make sure it is as strong as possible".

Bullies Out founder Linda James said: "We need to have that consistent definition of what exactly bullying is.

"We know that some schools are really proactive with their anti-bullying and they deal with it - but we also hear the stories that others are not.

"I think if there was some consistent reporting and recording procedure for all schools then maybe that would make it a lot easier for the schools in general."

Earlier this month, the funeral of 14-year-old Nyah James from Swansea was held. Her mother, Dominique Williams claims she took her own life as a result of being bullied at school.

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She said: "It makes us feel terrible because we weren't there to stop it. To find out she was being bullied and going through such pain of her own and we didn't know nothing about it - that kills us every day."

Ms Williams added: "We feel like we've failed her. I think to myself, did I fail her as a mum because she wasn't able to come and talk to me - thoughts like that go through your head."

A South Wales Police spokesperson said officers were still investigating the matter.

In Northern Ireland, legislation making it a legal requirement for schools to record all reports of bullying was given Royal Assent last year and Bullies Out wants similar legislation in Wales.

Rob Williams, director of policy at the National Association of Head Teachers Cymru, said the call to record all bullying incidents was "understandable".

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Media caption"We feel like we've failed her," said the mother of 14-year-old Nyah James.

But he warned there was a danger that more focus will be put on the recording process and "not on the effective use of the data".

"Utilising the information to safeguard children is the key part here, and how this translates into positive action," he said.

A Welsh Government spokesman said schools must record all racist incidents - including racial bullying, but there is no legal requirement for them to record other types of bullying.

He added: "Our guidance - Respecting Others - sets out guidance and practical solutions on preventing and responding to incidents of bullying in schools.

"We are in the process of reviewing this policy to make sure it is as strong as possible."

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