Homophobic Bullying

Oral Answers to Questions — Minister for Women – in the House of Commons at 10:30 am on 7th June 2007.

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Photo of Simon Hughes Simon Hughes Shadow Attorney General, Party Chair, Liberal Democrats 10:30 am, 7th June 2007

What assessment she has made of the Government's progress in tackling homophobic bullying; and if she will make a statement.

Photo of Ruth Kelly Ruth Kelly Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government

The Government take the issue of homophobic bullying seriously wherever it occurs. We delivered protections from homophobic bullying in the workplace in 2003, and we enforced protections in schools in the "goods and services" regulations which came into force this April. When such bullying amounts to homophobic harassment outside the workplace, the discrimination law review will consider the best way of addressing the real issues that people face.

Photo of Simon Hughes Simon Hughes Shadow Attorney General, Party Chair, Liberal Democrats

I know that every school must have an anti-bullying policy. Will Ministers consider whether that policy should include a requirement for a specific anti-homophobic bullying element, and also whether one teacher in each school, primary and secondary, should be given responsibility for ensuring that the policy is implemented and effective?

Photo of Ruth Kelly Ruth Kelly Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government

I congratulate the hon. Gentleman on his work in raising the profile of such issues. I know that he and his party have campaigned for precisely such training and attention to the issue in schools. Clearly, homophobic bullying is serious wherever it occurs. To date the Government have decided to take a slightly less bureaucratic approach than the one that the hon. Gentleman suggests by establishing, together with Ofsted, where weak anti-bullying practices are in operation, helping schools to improve their focus on bullying of all kinds, and working with Stonewall to establish how homophobic bullying in particular can best be tackled in a school environment.