14/11/2011 01:41 GMT | Updated 14/11/2011 11:53 GMT

As Quarter Of Pupils Say They Have Been Bullying Victims In Last Year, JLS's Marvin Shares His Story (VIDEO)

Verbal abuse is rife in schools with one in four youngsters saying they have been bullied in the last year, research suggests.

Many more young people have seen or heard others subjected to verbal bullying, it says.

Campaigners raised concerns that verbal insults - such as name calling and the use of derogatory language - is seen as less serious than other types of bullying, warning that the emotional impact on victims can be just as damaging.

A poll of almost 1,000 11 to 16-year-olds, commissioned by the Anti-Bullying Alliance, reveals that 26% of youngsters say they have been verbally bullied in the last year. Of these, 79% said it had happened at school. Two thirds (66%) of those questioned said they had seen or heard this type of abuse in the last year.

The survey, published to mark the start of Anti-Bullying Week, reveals that many youngsters are concerned about verbal bullying. Four fifths (81%) said it was a problem in their school or local area, and of these 12% said it was a "very big" problem.

The findings also show that around one in seven (14%) of all the youngsters surveyed said that they had considered missing school because they were worried about being bullied.

Parents and teachers were the people a child was most likely to go to for help about bullying, the survey found.

Ross Hendry, chair of the Anti-Bullying Alliance said the results highlight how much of a problem verbal bullying is: "Sometimes there is a tendency to see verbal bullying as being less serious than physical bullying," he said.

"But the emotional and psychological impact can be just as damaging and may affect young people's self-esteem and confidence to the point where they don't want to go to school."

Schools Minister Nick Gibb said: "Tackling poor behaviour and bullying are top priorities for the Coalition Government. We are supporting schools to take a zero tolerance approach to all forms of bullying. We need to send the message that bullying of any kind and of any child is completely unacceptable. No child should have to suffer fear, victimisation or disruption as a result of bullying, either on or off school premises."