Workplace bullying in charities and the implications for leadership

Following the Charity Commission’s domestic charity safeguarding summit in March 2018, ACEVO commissioned Centre for Mental Health to carry out research that provided a platform for the voices and experiences of those that have experienced bullying or abuse in the voluntary sector.

These issues affect every part of our society and the voluntary sector is no different, but we believe that we should be taking a lead on how we tackle them to create as inclusive and supportive a culture in the sector as we can. Bullying and harassment in the workplace are completely unacceptable and can have a profound negative impact on people’s mental health, so we must do everything in our power to tackle it.

The final report is now available for download at: The research showed us that many people, including CEOs, have experienced distressing instances of bullying while working or volunteering for charities. While these experiences may not be ones that we recognise from our own time in the charity sector, it is important that we listen and that we learn where policies, processes, governance, regulation and leadership can improve.

The report makes six practical recommendations that we are pleased that ACEVO will work to take forward. It calls on all charity leaders to take concrete action in this area, specifically to make sure that all their staff have the support they need to both speak out about bullying and harassment and deal with the impact of it, and to lead by example both personally and through the wider policies and practices in place at the organisations they lead. Together we want to create a culture where people feel confident talking about and reporting bullying and there are systems in place to stop it and provide support.

Download the report here.

Download the executive summary here.

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