dcrouchSpeaking at the Stonewall Education for All conference on Friday, the father of a 15-year-old suicide victim asked schools and the government to treat anti-gay teasing as ‘bullying’ and not just ‘banter’. Roger Crouch’s son Dominic killed himself last May by jumping from a roof, having left his school in Cheltenham during the lunchbreak.

Suicide notes revealed that he had ended his life after a sustained campaign of homophobic bullying, which may have begun when his son kissed another boy during a game of spin the bottle on a school trip.

Mr Crouch, a former local authority Director of Children Services, called for schools to pay more attention to signs of bullying and act sooner if a child seems depressed or withdrawn.

He said: “It is clear that the banter and rumours were based on Dom’s alleged sexuality… Some maintain that mystery still surrounds Dominic’s death. The coroner seemed baffled by it. Others have rightly emphasised the critical role of homophobic bullying. There’s no real mystery around why Dom was driven to take his own life. He was desperate that his happiness after the residential trip was punctured by rumours and being the butt of jokes. Over a single morning he felt he went from hero to zero. He over reacted to this – as teenagers will – but no one noticed or acted on his upset and absence until it was too late.”

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