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ACEVO & Centre for Mental Health partner to research bullying in charities

ACEVO & Centre for Mental Health partner to research bullying in charities

ACEVO and Centre for Mental Health have partnered to research bullying in charity sector leadership, and are asking people to share their experiences through a confidential online questionnaire.

‘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 in some organisations it can continue unchecked for a significant period of time.

The work 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.

As well as the online questionnaire, ACEVO and Centre for Mental Health also wish to conduct in-depth interviews with individuals who have experienced bullying in the sector.

The research has been 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, CEO of ACEVO, 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.”

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

Melanie May is a journalist and copywriter specialising in writing both for and about the charity and marketing services sectors since 2001. She can be reached via

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