Bul­ly­ing helpline high­lights on­go­ing work­place prob­lems

The Oban Times - - News -

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.’

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