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Leading safe cultures

A new research project will examine bullying in the charity sector. It is funded by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport as part of a programme of work called “Protecting people from harm” in the domestic charity sector, which was formed in response to reports of sexual exploitation, harassment and bullying in the media last year.

ACEVO CEO Vicky Browning has been asked by Mims Davies, the Minister for Sport and Civil Society, to be the bullying and harassment lead for the programme group that provides oversight and scrutiny.

Vicky Browning 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. 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.”

Sarah Hughes, CEO of Centre for Mental Health, says: “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.”

All responses to the survey will be treated confidentially. More details can be found on the project page, and the link to the complete survey. Those interested in being interviewed as part of the research can contact

Read ACEVO - Leading Safe Cultures