National Bullying Helpline faces crisis

The National Bullying Helpline is facing a crisis of confidence as four of its patrons, including politician Ann Widdecombe and TV presenter Sarah Cawood, step down.

Sarah Cawood

Their resignations, along with those of Mary O’Conner, chairman of the London Health Committee and Professor Cary Cooper, an expert on workplace stress, follow the revelations that members of Gordon Brown’s staff had allegedly contacted the anti-bullying helpline.

Singer Mz Bratt also distanced herself from the charity claiming she had never officially taken up her role as patron of the charity.

The charity’s patrons have resigned to show their objections after the charity’s founder Christine Pratt revealed that members of the Prime Minister’s staff had been in contact with the charity in the previous three years, breaching the confidentiality of the service.

Pratt made her comments in a BBC interview on Sunday in which she discussed the government’s efforts to deny alleged incidents of Brown’s temper made in a book by Andrew Rawnsley.

Last month, the Government’s own anti-bullying efforts faced crisis after its ambassador, pop star Dappy from N-Dubz sent threatening text messages to a Radio 1 listener who had contacted the BBC station expressing her dislike for the band.

Dappy had been involved in the launch of a Government campaign against cyber-bullying via mobile phones and the internet.

Beatbullying, the anti-bullying charity’s controversial ad campaign which sees a girl stitching up her own mouth was banned from airing on TV.


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