Act Against Bullying
Act Against Bullying (also known as AAB) is a national charity in the United Kingdom. It was founded in 2003 by Louise Burfitt-Dons. The charity's purpose is to help children who are bullied at school - by providing them with confidential advice - and to campaign to raise public awareness of the suffering of victims. The AAB website offers supportive messages and information on all forms of systematic bullying, in particular psychological bullying. The site also features advice on more modern forms of bullying - such as exclusion bullying and cyberbullying.
In 2000 Louise Burfitt-Dons wrote a set of 40 anti-bullying monologues for teachers to use in class entitled Act Against Bullying. A playwright (born Louise Byres) whose daughter had been bullied at school, Burfitt-Dons questioned the current advice given to victims to simply report the situation believing that this could lead on to reprisals. The Act Against Bullying monologues were published in 2001  While they accurately portrayed the insidiousness of the newer forms of bullying but it was evident that what people wanted to know was what to do about it. ‘I didn’t realise what I had started,’ said Burfitt-Dons. She formed a voluntary organisation and called it Act Against Bullying in 2002 to be able to provide some practical advice.
The charity began by profiling and identifying a type of bullying as Exclusion to Cause Distress based on deliberate isolation from a crowd and published advisory leaflets for teachers as well as coping tips for teenage victims. The organisation began attracting funds and was registered with the Charity Commission in October 2003. Despite being an independent charity still staffed entirely by volunteers it has since helped thousands of children and their parents through their anti-bullying activities and the Act Against Bullying website. AAB was shortlisted for The Guardian Charity Award 2008.
Ethos and affiliations
The ethos of the charity is deliberately motivational and upbeat and aims to reduce the number of suicides and homicides of young people caused as a result of bullying. It actively promotes the virtues of kindness as the antithesis of much of bullying actions. Its colours are red and white for strength and peace with a white silicone wristband. It was a core member of the UK's Anti-Bullying Alliance until 2010.
Cool to be Kind campaign
Act Against Bullying’s major anti-bullying campaign Cool To Be Kind started as a round of school talks on bullying. The motto was ‘Don’t be Rude, Don’t Exclude, Don’t Push In, Don’t Hurt To Win, It’s Cool to be Kind’. The campaign has been running since 2001 but, since 2005, Cool to be Kind Day has been celebrated in November during Anti-Bullying Week. To participate in this annual event, schools can download resources - such as assembly notices, AAB kindness certificates for presentations to reward anti-bullying behaviour and posters - from the Act Against Bullying website.
The aim of this campaign is to counteract and reverse the growing trend of cyberbullying by making a conscious effort to encourage and reward 'niceness on the net'. It was launched at the House of Lords on Armistice Day 2009 by Baroness Hayman and Lord Grocott
Act Against Bullying Cup
The Act Against Bullying Polo Cup was first held at the Guards Polo Club in June 2005 as part of the semi-final of the high profile Queens Cup Tournament. Charity founder Louise Burfitt-Dons presented the Act Against Bullying cup to the winning Dubai Polo Team which included Adolfo Cambiaso. The Dubai Team won it again in 2006. In 2007 it was taken by the Ellerston White polo team.
Anti-bullying talks and campaigning
AAB Founder Louise Burfitt-Dons has given public speeches on bullying raising awareness of rising statistics of random acts of violence in society and its adverse effect on youth culture, female aggression, and trends like happy slapping.
The charity launched a poster campaign Grade Not Degrade in November 2006 and wrote to all TV channels and OFCOM calling for a reduction in unnecessary aggression on TV and in the media believing it to be a prime cause of copycat violence in society  and leading to more bullying in schools.
Act Against Bullying has a high media presence which has not been without controversy owing to its glamorous profile. As well as a range of notable voluntary advisors including Hamish Brown MBE, UK’s leading authority on the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 and ex-Fire Commissioner Brian Robinson, many celebrities have appeared in support of the charity at its fundraising events including Hayley Westenra and Duaine Ladejo. Another was Big Brother star Jade Goody who was brought along as a guest to the Act Against Bullying Cup in 2005 in Windsor.
In January 2007 after Goody’s alleged racist bullying behaviour towards fellow Celebrity Big Brother contestant Bollywood star Shilpa Shetty the charity received a number of angry emails and phone calls asking for references to Goody to be removed from the Act Against Bullying website. The charity removed a photograph of Goody and published a statement on their website criticising the confrontational format of the Channel 4 show but which appeared to condone Goody’s behaviour. The statement was posted on the Digital Spy Formum by a viewer along with an allegation that Goody was the charity’s patron.
On 16 January 2007, the national media published the same story and Act Against Bullying was inundated with angry and abusive emails. On the same day, charity founder Louise Burfitt-Dons featured on UK international media stations to refute the fact that Jade Goody was ever a spokesperson or officially linked with the organisation. She claimed that Goody had been brought along as a guest at a function where she had bid for polo lessons with Jack Kidd (see Jodie Kidd) who was a charity supporter.
Other celebrities attending that day were Nick Knowles and Julian Bennett. She made a further donation to Act Against Bullying in 2006 following Goody’s mother Jackiey Budden appearance in a homemaker TV show. Burfitt-Dons published a further statement expressing admiration for the way in which Shilpa Shetty had dealt with the bullying. Shilpa Shetty’s management contacted Act Against Bullying to offer Shilpa’s support for the charity in place of Jade.
Other media personalities who have been linked with Act against Bullying are Jen Hunter who was publicly humiliated on a TV show over her height. Big Brother contestant Liza Jeynes contacted Act Against Bullying for support over her suicide attempts over cyberbullying. Act Against Bullying has a young following and Joseph McManners was photographed for them when he attended a function as well as Hugo Boss model Nicholas Joyce. They worked with Britain's Got Talent 2008 finalists martial arts duo Strike.
In 2008 Fashion Showcase Wales sponsored by L'Oreal was held in support of the charity at the Swalec Stadium in Cardiff. in 2011 Act Against Bullying's posters and campaign messages featured in the The Inbetweeners Movie
- Act Against Bullying website
- Act Against Bullying, Registered Charity no. 1100132 at the Charity Commission