Report reveals cyber bullying within charities

The report called In Plain Sight found that 25% of those who have been bullied within charities have experienced cyber bullying.

Joe Lepper | 19th Jun 19
Image of a person crying. A new survey points to the rise of cyber bullying within charities.

A quarter of cases of bullying within charities involve cyber abuse, according to a report by voluntary sector leaders and mental health experts.

The Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations (ACEVO) and Centre for Mental Health report In Plain Sight surveyed 524 people in charities who have experienced bullying.

Among those that provided detailed data, 25% cited cyber bullying, 7% mentioned physical bullying, with 87% citing social bullying and 78 per cent saying the bullying was verbal.

The report adds that most cyber bullying instances took place alongside social bullying and in a small number of cases victims experienced verbal, social and cyber bullying together.

One survey respondent said: “I often walked in on whispering/derogatory conversations about myself, and a member of staff disclosed to the CEO and myself that a Facebook group chat was created as a platform to continue slagging me off and undermining me after work, and that another Manager was actively participating as well as these colleagues.”

“The CEO admitted that if they had done to her what they had done to me she would not be able to come into work. The matter was not addressed effectively, no warning/discipline or reprimands were given and due to this I felt that I had no other choice but to leave.”

Severe impact of bullying

While the survey does not reveal the prevalence of bullying within charities, it does highlight that where experienced victims rated its personal and emotional impact as severe.

Bullying was reported formally in 58 per cent of cases but complaints were only considered by victims to have been satisfactorily addressed in three per cent of cases.

Around half (45 per cent) of those surveyed said that chief executives were involved in bullying and 57 per cent said senior managers were involved in bullying.

“Bullying affects workplaces in every part of our society and the voluntary sector is no different,” said ACEVO Chief Executive Vicky Browning.

“We believe that as charities we should be taking a lead on how we tackle bullying in order to create inclusive and supportive workplace cultures.”