Date of release: Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Professor Liz WestA £2million government fund to tackle homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying in schools sees national recognition for a five-year research project by a University of Greenwich academic.

Professor Elizabeth West is the Academic Lead for the landmark survey into the views and experiences of thousands of young lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) people, which was aimed at improving their life chances and tackling discrimination.

The confidential online survey, the largest of its kind to be carried out in the UK to date, is part of a project backed by the Big Lottery Fund to identify issues facing LGBTQ young people. The project is led by London-based charity METRO, in partnership with the University of Greenwich and Ergo Consulting.

The government’s announcement on its new efforts to tackle bullying made direct reference to the Youth Chances survey, published earlier this year, which found that more than half of young LGBTQ people had experienced either discrimination or harassment.

Elizabeth West is Professor in Applied Social Research in the university’s Faculty of Education & Health. She says: “I’m extremely encouraged that the Youth Chances survey is already having an impact on a national scale. It has a growing reputation as a major source of information about the health and well-being of young LGBTQ people and the fact that it has been highlighted by the Department for Education is another significant step.”

The survey collected the views of more than 7,000 young people on many aspects of their lives including relationships with their families, friends and communities, experiences at school and university, housing, and mental, physical and sexual health, among many other topics. Participants were recruited via a major campaign involving outreach to youth groups and organisations across the country and via social media. The actor Stephen Fry tweeted about the importance of filling in the survey to his millions of social media followers.

Professor West adds: “Overall we hope to stimulate a great deal of improvement in the life chances of LGBTQ young people. It is a pioneering survey that we hope will also have an impact at international level, setting a lead for other countries to follow.”

METRO promotes the health and well-being of all people experiencing issues related to sexuality, identity or gender. Its Chief Executive, Dr Greg Ussher, says: “As highlighted by the government, Youth Chances research shows that 60 per cent of young people have experienced name calling because they were LGBTQ or people thought they were, and nearly half of young LGBTQ people feel that their time at school is affected by hostility or fear of discrimination.

“This funding is another step toward tackling the problem to enable more working with children, young people, teachers and schools to ensure that our schools are safe spaces and that all our young people can enjoy and achieve.”

For more on the Youth Chances survey: http://www.youthchances.org/

For more on the government announcement:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/2-million-fund-to-tackle-homophobic-bullying-in-schools

To find out more about studying with the university’s Faculty of Education & Health:

http://www2.gre.ac.uk/about/faculty/eduhea, email courseinfo@gre.ac.uk or call 020 8331 9000.

Story by Public Relations

Picture: Professor Liz West, University of Greenwich.