The ArgusFather of schoolboy who hung himself calls for support of bullying victims (From The Argus)

Get involved: Send your news, views, pictures and video by texting SUPIC to 80360 or email us.

Father of schoolboy who hung himself calls for support of bullying victims

The Argus: Ben Vodden, 11, hung himself because of bullying in December 2006 Ben Vodden, 11, hung himself because of bullying in December 2006

The father of a schoolboy who hanged himself after being bullied relentlessly on the school bus has called for urgent support for young victims.

Paul Vodden's 11-year-old son Ben - a pupil at Tanbridge House School in Horsham, West Sussex - endured name calling, gesturing and swearing on school bus journeys, even from the driver.

The merciless bullying became too much for Ben and he hanged himself in his bedroom in December 2006.

Since then, Mr Vodden has attempted to tackle the issues surrounding bullying on school bus journeys and has been on a crusade to help others affected by bullies.

He has now produced a report with funding from the anti-bullying charity the Diana Award which highlighted that bullying often started on the school bus.

The Vodden Report revealed that 30% of respondents said bullying began on school bus journeys, and that 15% said the driver was aware it was happening.

Year 7 is the most likely year for bullying to start and 33% said they did not know where to find help or support, according to the online survey of more than 540 youngsters.

A total of 9% said they were so traumatised by bullying that they became suicidal, and 35% said bullying carried on for more than a year.

Mr Vodden said: "Children are placed on a school bus in a group over the composition of which they have no choice. There is no formal supervision and virtually no opportunity of avoiding conflict situations.

"This report reveals that the school bus journey is a potential environment for bullying which can quickly escalate and there is a lack of support for victims.

"This needs to be urgently addressed."

Key recommendations contained in the report include introducing volunteer chaperones and CCTV cameras on board buses, as well as training of school bus drivers.

Pat Harris, founder of Busk, which campaigns for child transport safety, said: "By simply talking to these young people and their drivers about their typical journeys, the evidence that this is commonplace was both shocking and overwhelming."

The findings of the survey will be launched tomorrow at the Busk Transport Safety Conference in Swindon, Wiltshire.

Comments (4)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

8:08am Tue 1 Apr 14

Sir Prised says...

What an appalling situation. Having lost a son, I know something of what this guy is going through and it's to his enormous credit that he's attemting some good comes from his personal tragedy. I believe that the parents of the bullies should be dragged before the Courts - not only for bullying I have to say but for all serious misdemeanours - so that the responsibility is placed where it should be, with the way these kids are raised. with no sense of responsibility and little empathy for others.
What an appalling situation. Having lost a son, I know something of what this guy is going through and it's to his enormous credit that he's attemting some good comes from his personal tragedy. I believe that the parents of the bullies should be dragged before the Courts - not only for bullying I have to say but for all serious misdemeanours - so that the responsibility is placed where it should be, with the way these kids are raised. with no sense of responsibility and little empathy for others. Sir Prised
  • Score: 16

8:57am Tue 1 Apr 14

Dan Gleballs says...

Some Parents and Teachers just don't care.
Some Parents and Teachers just don't care. Dan Gleballs
  • Score: 7

11:22am Tue 1 Apr 14

utternonsense says...

What an absolute gorgeous boy he was to . My heart aches for these poor kids who get bullied and for the parents who lose a child :( .
What an absolute gorgeous boy he was to . My heart aches for these poor kids who get bullied and for the parents who lose a child :( . utternonsense
  • Score: 7

12:59am Wed 2 Apr 14

KarenT says...

I offer my deepest commiserations towards the parents of this boy, and cannot even imagine how devastating this must be. Does anybody here have an opinion as to WHY the effects of bullying have become so tragic and ex treme amongst today's younger generation? Bullying is something that sadly has always existed, and I'm just wondering if anyone has any views about why it has become something that all too often leads to such tragic ends???
I offer my deepest commiserations towards the parents of this boy, and cannot even imagine how devastating this must be. Does anybody here have an opinion as to WHY the effects of bullying have become so tragic and ex treme amongst today's younger generation? Bullying is something that sadly has always existed, and I'm just wondering if anyone has any views about why it has become something that all too often leads to such tragic ends??? KarenT
  • Score: 1

Comments are closed on this article.

click2find

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree