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What is bullying?

Bullying can affect anyone children & adults and can happen in any environment.  

Although there is no legal definition of bullying, it can be described as unwanted actions or verbal remarks from a person or group that is either:

  • Offensive, intimidating, malicious, or insulting.

  • An abuse or misuse of power that undermines, humiliates, or causes physical or emotional harm to someone.


Bullying might:

  • Be a regular pattern of behaviour or a one-off incident.

  • Happen face-to-face, on social media, via emails or calls.

  • Happen at work or in other work-related situations.

  • Not always be obvious or noticed by others.

  • Happen in education settings.


Examples of bullying could include:

  • Spreading malicious rumours about someone.

  • Consistently putting someone down.

  • Deliberately giving someone extra tasks or work.

  • Excluding someone from activities.

  • Someone consistently undermining their manager's authority.

  • Putting humiliating, offensive or threatening comments or photos on social media

Sometimes bullying might be classed as harassment, if it's related to certain 'protected characteristics' under discrimination law (Equality Act 2010).

How to deal with bullying at school

If you are being bullied at school, then tell a friend, teacher, and also your parents. It won't stop unless you do. It can be hard to do this so if you don't feel you can do it in person it might be easier to write a note to your parents explaining how you feel, or perhaps confide in someone outside of your family, like a grandparent, aunt, uncle or cousin and ask them to help you tell your parents what's going on. 

Your form tutor needs to know what is going on so try to find a time to tell him or her when it won't be noticeable. Maybe by staying back after class or even emailing them yourself. You could also speak to the school nurse. Don't be tempted to respond to any bullying or hit back because you could get hurt or get into trouble.


Bullying includes:

  • People calling you names.

  • Making things up to get you into trouble.

  • Hitting, pinching, biting, pushing, and shoving

  • Taking things away from you

  • Damaging your belongings

  • Stealing your money

  • Taking your friends away from you

  • Posting insulting messages or rumours, in person on the internet or by IM (cyberbullying)

  • Threats and intimidation

  • Making silent or abusive phone calls

  • Sending you offensive phone texts

  • Bullies can also frighten you so that you don't want to go to school, or indeed stay off school by saying you are ill.


​Hitting someone is an assault

Try to stay in safe areas of the school & workplace at break and lunchtime where there are plenty of other people.  If you are hurt, tell someone immediately and ask for it to be written down. This is a criminal offence. 

​Bullying can effect your mental health and well-being.

 If you feel you can't cope and the bullying is making you ill please do speak up and go to see your doctor. Many doctors are very sympathetic about the effects of bullying and you may be able to write a note for the school/work explaining the effect that bullying is having on your health.

​People bully others usually because they are different from them. These could include appearance, religion, behaviour, disabilities or illness, or family circumstances. 



Observe your child for signs they might be being bullied children may not always be vocal about being bullied. Signs include ripped clothing, hesitation about going to school, decreased appetite, nightmares, crying, or general depression and anxiety. If you discover your child is being bullied, don’t tell them to “let it go” or “suck it up”. Instead, have open-ended conversations where you can learn what is really going on at school so that you can take the appropriate steps to rectify the situation. Most importantly, let your child know you will help him/her and that they should try not to fight back.



Know that it’s not your fault. What people call “bullying” is sometimes an argument between two people. But if someone is repeatedly cruel to you, that’s bullying, and you mustn’t blame yourself. No one deserves to be treated cruelly.

Don’t respond or retaliate. Sometimes a reaction is exactly what aggressors are looking for because they think it gives them power over you, and you don’t want to empower a bully. As for retaliating, getting back at a bully turns you into one – and can turn one mean act into a chain reaction. If you can, remove yourself from the situation. If you can’t, sometimes humour disarms or distracts a person from bullying.

Save the evidence. The only good news about bullying online or on phones is that it can usually be captured, saved, and shown to someone who can help. You can save that evidence in case things escalate.

​Tell the person to stop. This is completely up to you – don’t do it if you don’t feel totally comfortable doing it, because you need to make your position completely clear that you will not stand for this treatment anymore. You may need to practice beforehand with someone you trust, like a parent or good friend.

Reach out for help – especially if the behavior’s really getting to you. You deserve backup. See if there’s someone who can listen, help you process what’s going on, and work through it – a friend, relative, or maybe an adult you trust.

Use available tech tools. Most social media apps and services allow you to block the person. Whether the harassments is in an app, texting, comments, or tagged photos, do yourself a favour and block the person. You can also report the problem to the service. That probably won’t end it, but you don’t need the harassment in your face, and you’ll be less tempted to respond. If you’re getting threats of physical harm, you should call your local police (with a parent or guardian’s help) and consider reporting it to school authorities.

Protect your accounts. Don’t share your passwords with anyone – even your closest friends, who may not be close forever – and password-protect your phone so no one can use it to impersonate you. You’ll find advice at

If someone you know is being bullied, take action. Just standing by can empower an aggressor and does nothing to help. The best thing you can do is try to stop the bullying by taking a stand against it. If you can’t stop it, support the person being bullied. If the person’s a friend, you can listen and see how to help. Consider together whether you should report the bullying. If you’re not already friends, even a kind word can help reduce the pain. At the very least, help by not passing along a mean message and not giving positive attention to the person doing the bullying.


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