Bullying can be defined as:
"A deliberately hurtful act by an individual or group, usually repeated over a period of time. It often involves an abuse of power, or use of intimidation and can affect an individual or a group."
Bullying can be:
- emotional (such as ignoring, tormenting, being excluded from social groups)
- physical (such as pushing, kicking)
- racist (such as name calling, discrimination)
- sexual (such as unwanted physical contact, abusive comments)
- verbal (such as name calling, persistent teasing, sarcasm, threats)
- homophobic (such as inappropriate comments about someone's sexuality)
This also includes abusive text messages, emails or hurtful comments and posts online, for instance via Facebook. This is know as cyber bulling.
Bullying can happen to anyone and is often secretive so members of staff may not know that it is happening.
If you think your child is being bullied at school, talk to a member of staff as soon as possible.
How schools handle bullying
All schools have anti-bullying policies which they share with parents and carers.
As well as this, many schools have peer mentoring or buddy schemes to help pupils with their problems.
If you are aware that bullying is happening in school contact the school straight away. Begin by telling your child's class or form teacher, or their head of year.
Further information for parents and carers
Bullying UK (part of Family Lives) offers advice for parents and help and support through a helpline at 0808 800 2222.