Children from wealthy homes are more likely to be picked on and bullied at school because of their background, according to new research published today.
A study of 1,843 British students reveals almost eight per cent have suffered bullying as a result of their social class - mostly because their parents were rich or they had “posh” accents.
The figures are contained in a report on bullying by Ditch The Label, an anti-bullying organisation set up by a victim of bullying himself, Liam Hackett, which reveals that seven out of ten young people claim to have been victims of bullying by the time they reach the age of 18.
The report shows the majority (60 per cent) say they have been bullied because of their appearance - which can either be because they are too fat or too thin, Other reasons commonly cited included interests or hobbies (36 per cent) In addition, just over one in five (21 per cent) have been victims of online cyber-bullying - a trend which the organisers of the survey believe will grow.
Jon Cross, a 20-year-old now studying anthropology at Sussex University, said he was bullied after switching from a private to a state school at the age of 12 after his parents divorced - putting a financial strain on the family.
“I experienced a lot of verbal bullying and was targeted because of my voice and the way I pronounced words,” he said.
“I spoke posh and felt like I stood out. I was called posh boy for a while and a group of people in my class would try and get me to do things that would get me into trouble.”
Mr Hackett, aged 22, said he had been taunted because of his sexuality. Rumours about his personal life were posted on a website where fellow pupils would trade taunts and insults about him.
“At this point I was 15 and still wasn’t sure about my sexuality but couldn’t take any more and broke down, telling my mum everything,” he said. “I was essentially forced into coming out before I knew for sure if I was actually gay. It was absolutely humiliating.”
Ditch The Label plans to distribute copies of its research to every school and college to urge them to be vigilant about bullying.