What is bullying & harassment?

Bullying can be defined in many different ways, but the UK has no legal definition. So to prevent and tackle bullying in and out of school and the workplace, we need to understand the terms related to bullying and online safety. Making sure we identify the risks and impact it has on our young people, children and adults.

Understanding what Bullying is

Bullying is the repetitive and persistent, intentional hurting of someone which is divided into four basic categories.

  • Emotional - Constant Criticism, intimidation
  • Verbal - Name calling, threats of violence
  • Physical - Causing injury or trauma to another person
  • Cyber - Social Media and texts/pictures via mobile phones

Bullying can come from one person or a group of people, which is called ‘Mobbing’ or ‘Peer Abuse’. All forms of bullying are not acceptable and the main platform for it in recent years is coming from Social Media.

  • Abusive comments and threats made about or to a person
  • Pressurising someone to engage in activities they do not wish to and asking them to send images of a sexual nature
  • Websites created intending to make fun of a person and harm their reputation and spread rumours.

Many people can be bullied and can be targeted for a number of reasons. Bullying mainly starts due to one of these reasons.

  • Sexual Harassment and Sexual Violence in schools, Colleges and the workplace. Unwelcome sexual advances and remarks made about a person’s appearance, inappropriate touching
  • Disability including physical and Special educational needs
  • Homophobic discrimination based on someone’s gender identity or their sexuality and preference in partner
  • Race and Religion

One-off incidents and mutual conflict do not constitute as bullying. Having a disagreement or fight with another person which both have participated in and there is no imbalance of power is not bullying. Bullying is constant and fits a pattern of behaviour, a one-off incident can be categorised as bullying if it is so significant that is causes long-term effects such as mental health issues to the other person.

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What to do if you are being bullied

If you are a young person or child of school age, your school should have a Policy in place to deal with bullying. If you are a student, you should speak to your Tutor or Head of Year and discuss the issues you have been experiencing. It is good to have a log of times when incidents have happened, when, where and who was involved.

As a parent identifying your child is being bullied, you should contact the school and speak to the relevant person in charge of dealing with behaviour. Make an appointment to discuss in person the issues and a plan of what you want to happen.

If your school has R.A.I.N, you can log the incident without making that call first.

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