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What is Ayden’s Law?

Photo of Ayden Olson

On 14 March 2013, 14 year old Ayden Olson took his own life. He'd been bullied to death. Tragically, Ayden's name is only the latest to be added to a growing list. But while the victims themselves may have found peace, their families are left behind, scarred forever by the agony of losing a child.

Ayden's Law is a campaign on behalf of all those young people, their families and any child or young person being bullied today.

BeatBullying, The Sun, and families of children like Ayden are calling on the Prime Minister to take action. We want to call a summit with him and relevant ministers to discuss how we can prevent any more tragedies — and the creation of Ayden's Law, a new children's anti-bullying bill designed to stop bullying in our society once and for all.

Read our letter to the Prime Minister.

Shy Keenan

“Our wonderful 14 year-old son Ayden died on the 14th of March 2013 - his spirit defeated, he was bullied to death at school and driven... out of pain and despair... to take his own life.

“We miss him so much. Our hearts just ache for him and as we try to adjust to a life without him, we have committed to carrying his dreams of bully free schools ahead with Ayden's Law.”

The Children’s Anti-Bullying Bill

Ayden's Law progress update

By Anthony Smythe, Managing Director of BeatBullying

BeatBullying has worked tirelessly over the past 10 years to have bullying recognised in legislation by Government. With the help of justice campaigners Shy Keenan and Dr Sara Payne MBE and MP Tracey Crouch, we are thrilled to announce that we have done so.

Earlier this month, BeatBullying's new anti-bullying campaign, Ayden's Law, received news that it would be included in the Government's newly drafted Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill (ASBO), currently sitting before parliament.

Tracey Crouch MP proposed amendments to the ASBO, and Home Office Minister Jeremy Browne made the concession. We were able to include key aspects of Ayden's Law into the new ASBO bill, these are:

  • A new injunction in the Prevent Nuisance and Disorder Bill (IPNA), which will replace the ASBO and will allow Headteachers to enforce injunctions on bullies. They join police officers, local authorities, housing providers, Transport for London and the Environment Agency who can also legally enforce such measures.
  • A new 'Community trigger' will let members of communities request a review in situations where there have been several complaints about bullying. Community remedies are important because they are civil and not criminal and ensure an alternative to criminal prosecution in the majority of cases.

Crucially, these developments will reduce current levels of bullying-related criminal prosecutions. It will do this by providing smarter, non-criminal sanctions developed by local professionals who work with children, together with local authorities, schools and police.

For the person who is bullied, this means their safety will be protected. For the perpetrator it means that services work together to understand why that child is bullying and develop a suitable course of action which will effectively address those behaviours.

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Under Ayden's Law, bullying and intimidation would be a criminal offence for the first time. If a child was found to be acting in a way that could cause physical or mental harm to another person, they could be charged and prosecuted. Sentencing would focus on out-of-court measures.

Under Ayden's Law, all social workers would be given anti-bullying training as part of their social work qualification. This will give them the skills and confidence they need to work with their community to prevent bullying, provide support for victims of bullying and their families, and work with bullies to address their behaviour.

A statutory requirement for Government to publish 'A Children and Young People's Annual Anti-Bullying Strategy for the UK' and for the Prime Minister to report progress to Parliament annually.

The strategy to include:

  • Clear roles and responsibilities for government, local government, communities, schools and internet providers
  • Fully costed measures that enable schools, local authorities and the voluntary and community sector to take forward the strategy
  • Indicators to measure improvement

Under Ayden's Law, all families with a child that persistently bullies and intimidates others would have to take part in a compulsory family intervention programme.

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