Charity leaders’ membership body ACEVO and Centre for Mental Health have partnered to research bullying among leadership in the third sector.
The project, Leading safe cultures: eliminating workplace bullying in charity leadership, aims to understand the conditions in which bullying occurs in the charity sector, its effects on individuals and why bullying can continue for significant periods of time unchecked.
It has been funded by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport as part of a wider programme called ‘Protecting people from harm’, which was launched in response to reports of sexual exploitation within the third sector last year.
The project calls for people who feel able to share their experiences to complete a confidential online questionnaire, and are also seeking to conduct in-depth interviews with individuals who have experienced bullying in the sector.
It will focus on bullying that has taken place within the last five years, with a specific focus on the role of leadership and culture in bullying behaviour.
“Bullying unfortunately occurs in all kinds of workplaces; it is not a problem specific to the charity sector,” ACEVO chief executive Vicky Browning said.
“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.
“We are pleased to be partnering with Centre for Mental Health, which is an expert at conducting high quality, impactful research in a way that is supportive of participants’ emotional wellbeing.”
Centre for Mental Health CEO Sarah Hughes added: “Bullying in any setting is a major cause of poor mental health as well as undermining an organisation’s performance. We are pleased to be working with ACEVO to bring about a greater understanding of what puts people at risk of bullying and what can be done to change this. Facing up to this sensitive topic is essential to support charities to prevent and tackle bullying at work in what are often difficult circumstances.”
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