Bullying helpline highlights ongoing workplace problems
A WEBSITE that supports people who are victims of bullying in the workplace has received more than 7,000 calls.
Tackling Oppressive Behaviour in Employment (TOBIE) - www.tobie.org.uk - was set up by Highlands and Islands MSP Rhoda Grant, who says the page ‘has only just scratched the surface of people who need help’.
Mrs Grant said: ‘I launched this site in December 2014 and over the following four weeks I was contacted by so many individuals who have a story to tell, including many who are sufferers of this anti-social unacceptable behaviour.
‘Sad to say, most told me they suffered in silence because they did not know where to turn.’
Currently, the site has been visited by more than 7,242 people.
Ms Grant said: ‘It is really a double- edged sword. I am delighted so many have visited the website, but at the same time I am taken aback by the fact that across the Highlands, Islands and Moray there are so many people who have been or continue to be adversely treated by bullies.
‘What makes the whole situation worse is the fact that the 7,242 who have accessed our site account for a tiny proportion of people in this area who suffer bullying or harassment.
‘This just shows what a real problem and issue this type of anti-social behaviour is.
‘However, a particular pleasing aspect is the fact that individuals and organisations have made favourable comment about this site and they have also suggested ways we can improve it further.’
Ms Grant continued: ‘I will be sitting down with my team over the coming weeks and ascertaining the direction we will take with this initiative. At this stage I am still minded to consider consulting widely on the benefits or otherwise of trying to make bullying a specific offence.
‘This would, of course, be similar to other type offences such as stalking where there is a specific offence now under the Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2010, a Bill I was instrumental in progressing.
‘I see bullying as a specific offence, although the offender may actually be charged with breach of the peace, assault or harassment.’