Acevo has partnered with Centre for Mental Health to carry out research about bullying in the charity sector.
The project, Leading safe cultures: eliminating workplace bullying in charity leadership, seeks to examine why bullying in the sector occurs, its effect on individuals, and why it can occur unchecked. It will focus on the role of leadership and workplace culture in bullying and will scrutinise bullying that has taken place in the last five years.
The Department for Digital Culture Media and Sport has given the project £73,125 as part of a wider programme of support following concerns about safeguarding in charities.
The government’s strategy was launched in October 2018 after reports of sexual exploitation, harassment and bullying surfaced last year. It pledged £2m to safeguarding projects, and training to improve standards.
As part of the research, Acevo and Centre for Mental Health have launched a 13-question anonymous survey to collate employees’ experiences. They will also conduct interviews with victims of bullying.
Questions focus on the types of bullying that employees have experienced, and asks victims to reflect on the causes that could have led to the bullying, such as sexual harassment and religious discrimination. The survey will close on 22 March.
'We need to shine a light on the problem'
Vicky Browning, chief executive of Acevo, said: “Bullying unfortunately occurs in all kinds of workplaces; it is not a problem specific to the charity sector. However, in order to address it effectively within our sector we need to shine a light on it.”
“This self-reflection will not always be comfortable but it is necessary to build a stronger sector, and more importantly to ensure the wellbeing of the staff and volunteers without whom charities would be unable to achieve their mission.”
Sarah Hughes, chief executive of Centre for Mental Health, added: “Bullying in any setting is a major cause of poor mental health as well as undermining an organisation’s performance.”
“Facing up to this sensitive topic is essential to support charities to prevent and tackle bullying at work in what are often difficult circumstances.”
The findings will published in May.