Bullying can happen to anyone at any age and everyone has the right to be safe.
Bullying is not an acceptable part of growing up.
It can make young people feel lonely, unhappy and frightened.
If your child is being bullied, the school should have policies in place to support you.
There are organisations that can offer further information and advice if you need it.
What bullying is
Bullying is deliberately hurtful behaviour that is repeated over time.
- be spoken, physical or emotional
- happen at school, in the neighbourhood or in a relationship
Bullying involves someone using their power over someone else.
It can include:
- threats and physical violence
- name calling
- damage to property
- leaving pupils out of social activities deliberately
- spreading rumours
- upsetting mobile phone or email messages (cyber bullying)
What bullying isn't
- Falling out with people or friends breaking up
- Short term arguments
- A fight or quarrel between 2 children of equal power or strength
- Occasional teasing
This Anti-bullying book may help you understand bullying and how it can affect those involved.
What to do if your child is being bullied
Your child isn't alone:
- 1 in 2 students say that they have been bullied in any school term
- Nearly half of secondary school students feel that their teachers are unaware of the bullying that goes on
Talk to your child
Your child may not directly tell you that they are being bullied, but may seem out of character, quiet and suddenly not want to go to school.
Try to find out if anything is wrong by talking to them about:
- School work
- What they do at lunch and break times
- Any problems or worries they have
Finding out your child is being bullied can be very upsetting.
Try to remain calm and talk to them about what is happening:
- Make a note of what they say has happened, who was involved, where, when, and how often.
- Reassure them that they did the right thing by telling you.
- Tell your child to report bullying to a teacher immediately.
- Talk to your child's school about the bullying. Ask to see their policy on bullying so you know what they will be doing.
- Stay in touch with the school. Let them know whether the bullying stops or is still happening.
- Encourage your child to stay away from their bully, or to stand up for themselves by standing up straight and showing they are not afraid.
- If the bullying is really serious, contact your local police station. The police take any report of bullying very seriously. It will be viewed as a potential criminal offence, be recorded and fully investigated. The police will also work in partnership with other people who could help you resolve the situation.
If your child is being bullied by text, email or on the internet
- Get them to show you any messages they've received
- Tell them to never respond to an internet bully in a chat room, and never respond to abusive text messages
- Make sure they stick to moderated chat rooms
- If bullying or abuse starts in a chat room, tell them to leave immediately and tell you - you can then contact CEOPS
- Tell them to never to give out personal contact details online or put photographs of themselves on websites
If you have done all this, but are still worried, contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org.
What to do if your child is bullying others
Many people may be bullies and not know it.
Your child could become an accidental bully by:
- Passing on a nasty text about someone
- Laughing at an unkind comment
- It's easier to be an accidental bully if it involves email, text etc, because they aren't doing it directly
If your child is bullying
If your child is bullying:
- they could be copying the behaviour of other people in the family, neighbourhood or friends
- they might not have learned better ways of mixing with friends
- their friends might be encouraging the bullying behaviour
- they might be going through a difficult time and acting out aggressive feelings
How you can help to stop your child bullying
- Encourage your child to admit what they're doing - it takes a lot of courage for them to admit they've done wrong.
- Explain to your child that what they are doing is not right and making other people unhappy.
- Encourage your child to apologise to the person they've hurt.
- Stop family members from using aggression or force to get what they want.
- Show your child how to join in with others without bullying.
- Speak to your child's school about how you can work together to stop the bullying.
- Check regularly with your child about how things are at school.
- Give your child praise when they are cooperative and kind to others.
- Encourage your child to help others if they see them being bullied, even if the bully is someone they're scared of or a friend. Tell them they should tell a teacher or an adult they trust.