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Help Musicians launches new helpline to support people experiencing bullying and harassment

By | Published on Thursday 10 March 2022

Help Musicians

Help Musicians has launched its new helpline for people suffering bullying and harassment within the UK music industry. The music charity – which already supports the health and well-being of musicians in a number of ways – announced it was planning to launch this new specific helpline back in January.

It follows increased debate within the music community in recent years about bullying and harassment within the sector, and especially the challenges faced by people who are basically freelance – which includes most artists and songwriters – and who therefore don’t usually work in companies which, in theory at least, should have formal systems to deal with such problems.

Rebecca Ferguson has been particularly vocal on this issue, of course, while organisations like the Musicians’ Union and the Incorporated Society Of Musicians have pursued various initiatives, including the MU’s Safe Space programme, which offers advice and sign-posts support services to those experiencing bullying, harassment or other abuse while working in music

The new helpline will seek to complement existing schemes in this domain and – crucially – will be available to everyone working in the music industry, not just artists and songwriters.

Explaining how the service works, Help Musicians said earlier today: “Callers are able to immediately speak with a specialist bullying and harassment counsellor, who undertakes a risk assessment. As a first step, the advisor will assess if an informal resolution of the situation is possible, and offer coaching on how to approach the perpetrator or organisation if suitable. If the assessment finds that a more formal approach is required, the caller will be offered information and guidance on the options available to them”.

The service will also seek to inform the ongoing debate around bullying and harassment within the music industry. The charity added: “As well as helping those impacted by bullying and harassment, the new helpline aims to shed more light on the extent of the issue across the industry and inform collaborative, industry-wide efforts for a positive and permanent change to help stamp out bullying and harassment”.

Launching the new helpline, Help Musicians CEO James Ainscough said: “Anyone who is concerned about a bullying and harassment situation can call the helpline, share their concerns confidentially and receive advice on how to navigate the issue they are facing. We hope in time that musicians and all those who work in music will feel better emotionally supported as well as gaining practical advice on how to resolve any problems”.

“The anonymous insight we will gather through this service will shed more light on the issues being experienced and help to target the collaborative efforts for positive and permanent change across the music industry”, he added. “This is a vital service, and we ask for everybody’s help in promoting awareness of it, to ensure that individuals who need it will know that they can call for support at any time”.

Anyone within the UK music industry experiencing bullying and harassment can call the helpline on 0800 088 2045.