Ditch the Label are one of the largest anti-bullying charities in the world, dedicated to promoting equality and providing support to young people who have been negatively affected by bullying and prejudice. Their award-winning work spans across the UK, USA and Mexico; empowering people aged 12–25 to overcome bullying.
They are a digital charity, which means that most of their support is provided online through their website and partnerships with games and social networks.
In 2005, after 10 years of ignoring it and telling the teachers, founder and current CEO of Ditch the Label Liam Hackett, took to the Internet to post about his experiences of being bullied. He talked about the extreme verbal and physical bullying he had experienced, including his hospitalisation after being attacked by a group of people from school. Overnight, hundreds of people came together, united by their experiences.
A community rapidly grew and the movement became so large, that in 2006 Hackett launched a specific MySpace profile to host the conversations and named it ‘Ditch the Label’.
Hackett recognised the potential of Ditch the Label and approached the local Chamber of Commerce in 2007. Aged 16, he became the first person below the age of 18 to receive a grant in his local area to develop a Ditch the Label website.
Ditch the Label continued to grow in momentum behind the scenes as Hackett studied for his degree at the University of Sussex. In 2012, he graduated with a degree in business and management and immediately registered Ditch the Label as a legal entity and began to develop the organisation.
Income requirements had always disqualified Ditch the Label from becoming a recognised charity. Gaining charity status was required in order to attract funding. After two years of trying, in March 2014, Ditch the Label was officially registered as a charity in the UK.
After a hugely successful year in 2015, Ditch the Label announced plans to expand across the USA and Mexico, aiming to support a record volume of 500,000 young people through bullying. 2016 also saw the launch of the latest Annual Bullying Survey in the House of Commons of the United Kingdom, along with the fifth and most comprehensive Ditch the Label website.
This report combined the largest bullying-related data set of over 10,000 young people with key questions surrounding cyberbullying and the use of integrated digital technology within the lives of young people. Upon publication in October 2013, media publications were quick to respond; turning the findings of the report into global headlines. As a result, the report went on to consult Government, social networks, schools, colleges and other organisations in their counter cyberbullying strategy.
Each year the organisation partners with schools and colleges across the UK, to conduct a survey which highlights the current climate of bullying amongst 13 - 18 year olds. The reports come with free tips and advice for schools, colleges, parents and guardians, Government and young people on how to reduce the effects and prominence of bullying.
This report covered the topic of gender and how it can enable and disable young people aged 13–25 throughout the United Kingdom and internationally. The research was particularly focused on the definition of gender, gender roles and the bullying and discrimination young people experience as a result of not conforming to societal norms.
In conjunction with leading social intelligence company Brandwatch, Ditch the Label explored misogynistic behaviour and ideas of masculinity on Twitter by analysing 19 million Tweets over a 4-year period. The report was supported by British politician Caroline Lucas and subsequently presented at a parliamentary reception in the House of Commons of the United Kingdom in October 2016.
In August 2013, the organisation joined Finnish youth virtual social networking service Habbo to extend their support to those who had experienced bullying. The organisation used Habbo as an online help centre for the virtual community to provide support and advice to both the targets and perpetrators of bullying.
The organisation also ran bullying-awareness campaigns on the virtual social network.
Based on findings from the 2016 edition of the Annual Bullying Survey which established that the majority of those who bully are men, Ditch the Label joined forces with brand Axe (known in the UK as Lynx) to give young men the tools and resources they need to stand up to bullying and be comfortable with who they are – without the pressures and limits of traditional masculinity.
Ditch the Label are aiming to help at least 474,000 people through their partnership with Axe/Lynx.Tyger Drew-Honey
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