Bullying is behaviour by an individual or group, repeated over time, that intentionally hurts another individual or group either physically or emotionally.
Bullying can take many forms such as cyber-bullying via text messages or on the internet. It is often motivated by prejudice against particular groups, for example on grounds of:
- sexual orientation
- a child being adopted or has caring responsibilities
It might be motivated by actual differences between children, or perceived differences.
Stopping violence and ensuring immediate physical safety is obviously a school’s first priority. Emotional bullying can be more damaging than physical. Teachers and schools often have to make their own difficult judgements about each specific case.
Bullying could include:
- making offensive comments
- taking belongings
- text messaging
- excluding people from groups
- spreading hurtful and untruthful rumours
Understanding a shared definition of bullying is crucial to preventing and tackling it.
The key features are that it is:
- Repetitive, wilful or persistent.
- Intentionally harmful, carried out by an individual or a group.
- Involves an imbalance of power leaving the victim feeling defenceless.
Being bullied is an experience common to many children. It takes many forms and can have many effects.
These pages are designed to help staff in schools recognise bullying, take preventative action, and support the pupils involved.
Who can I contact?
Children and parents who are worried about bullying in school should talk to a member of staff.
Children can also contact Childline on 0800 11 11.
Parents can contact Family Lives on 0808 800 2222.
If you think your child is being bullied you can read out about how to report it on the Gov.UK website.