Bully helpline in Brown row closes


The National Bullying Helpline charity has been shut down following the resignation of its chief executive Christine Pratt

The National Bullying Helpline charity has been shut down following the resignation of its chief executive.

A lack of funding was also blamed for the decision, the trustees of the charity said in a statement posted on its website.

The helpline, founded in 2007, was temporarily suspended last year after chief executive and founder Christine Pratt claimed it had received calls from Downing Street staff seeking help over alleged bullying at work.

Patrons of the charity, who included former Conservative MP Ann Widdecombe, resigned in protest at what they saw as her breach of confidentiality towards callers, but Downing Street dismissed what they described as “malicious allegations”.

The trustees of the charity, based in Swindon, Wiltshire, said: “This last year, calls to our helpline have trebled and we have had to take on additional volunteers and resources to meet demand.

“Without doubt, this demonstrates that a free anti-bullying helpline is a much-needed and much-valued lifeline for the general public – adults and children alike.

“We believe our charity was unique. We believe there is no other UK bullying helpline today quite like the National Bullying Helpline, providing assistance to both adults and children who are affected by anti-social behaviour in the community, the home, the workplace and/or the playground.

“Undoubtedly, the closure of our charity will be a great loss to the public.”

The decision to shut the helpline was made after Mrs Pratt, who set up the charity with her husband, stepped down from her post earlier this week.

The trustees thanked all those who had worked for, and with, the charity over the years. The helpline’s website will remain live to allow people to access material on dealing with bullying.

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