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British coroner rules anti-bullying advocate’s death a result of suicide

Wednesday, December 7, 2011
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GLOUCESTERSHIRE, England — Roger Crouch, a former director of children’s services and anti-bullying advocate for youth, died last week as the result of suicide, according to David Dooley, the Deputy Coroner for Gloucestershire.

Family Photo

Roger Crouch, with Dominic

Crouch was the father of 15-year-old Dominic, who had killed himself in May 2010 after apparently suffering from anti-gay bullying.

Following his son’s death, Crouch, a former Director of Children Services in Manchester, worked to ensure that schools must do more to look out for signs of bullying and be aware of students who appear distracted or distressed.

Crouch lobbied schools to ensure anti-bullying policies are used and young people should be taught coping strategies, and called on the UK government to adopt a “victim-centred” definition of bullying.

In a ceremony held in London last month by the LGBT Equality Rights charity Stonewall UK, Crouch was presented with Stonewall’s Hero of the Year award. Crouch advocated for substantial changes so that British schools must treat rumors and teasing as bullying, rather than “banter.”

Crouch, who was employed as a town council clerk of Stow-on-the-Wold near Winchcombe, UK, was declared dead after found hanging in his garage last Monday.

In testimony offered by the medical examiner, coroner’s officer Paul Boak during the proceedings, Boak told the inquest he had been able to identify the victim’s remains based on his investigation into the death of Crouch’s son last year, testifying that he had met Mr. Crouch as a result of the investigation into that tragedy and knew him personally.

After the hearing, the coroner released Crouch’s remains for a scheduled funeral Thursday at St Peter’s Church, located in Winchcombe.

Roger Crouch’s widow said that her husband died of a “broken heart”, having never recovered from the death of their son Dominic, 15, who jumped from a six-storey building near his school in May last year.

“I think the sadness overwhelmed Roger,” she said. “He couldn’t bear to live without Domi. But it was a deep sadness and depression. The seed had been sown when his mother died when he was 11. Roger’s sister died, which knocked him really badly, then months later Domi died, which absolutely floored him. His nephew then died in Afghanistan.”

A saddened local LGBT activist, speaking to LGBTQ Nation on the condition of remaining anonymous remarked, “This what people don’t get-bullying affects more than the victims. There becomes a parade of parties affected and in some cases — this case — die as a result. Words can and do kill, it was all so bloody unnecessary.”

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