Young carers and bullying

Young carers and bullying

Young carers are likely to be bullied more than their peers and it is common for them to be bullied because of their caring role.

Key Points: 

  • Research highlights that young people with caring responsibilities are another vulnerable group who are more likely to report being bullied than their peers.
  • There is a need for schools to develop and implement a policy and strategy for dealing with the bullying of young carers and young adult carers.
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Date Revised: 
25/11/16

The Bullying Prevention Project (Young Carers)

The Bullying Prevention Project (Young Carers), one of Carers Trust’s Innovation Generation projects set out to raise awareness of and improve the understanding of the relationship between bullying and being a young carer, in order to remove barriers and improve environments that reduce the likelihood of young carers being bullied. A guide, a film and a training PowerPoint have been developed and are available from the project page as well as a short project evaluation.

Research 

It has been well evidenced in research that young carers experience heightened levels of bullying. PDF iconRecent research by the University of Nottingham and Carers Trust found that a quarter (26%) of young carers surveyed were bullied at school specifically because of their caring role.

This PDF iconechoed previous research by Carers Trust which found 68% of young carers in an online survey had experienced bullying. This inflated level of bullying of young people with caring responsibilities was also highlighted  in research by the National Centre for Social Research (2010) 

Potential reasons for bullying 

Young carers may experience bullying for a variety of reasons including:

  • They may find it harder to make and sustain friendships and a social life which means they appear unsociable.
  • They may have greater maturity than their peers (and might therefore be seen as different).
  • People may not understand the illness or disability experienced in the family.
  • They may be withdrawn or particularly sensitive at times.
  • They may have untidy or unclean clothing or general appearance.
  • Peers may make fun of them or of their family members who they care for.

Young carers need to be supported within their communities so that they are protected from bullying which can significantly impact on a young person’s health and wellbeing.

Further information

Read information about bullying and support on Carers Trust’s Young Carers website.

Other useful websites with information about bullying include KidscapeBeat Bullying and Young Minds.