Bullying is when a person gets picked on. It can happen at work, school, or in social situations. It can even happen within families.
Bullying can take many forms. It may be name-calling, physical violence, making someone feel awkward, or intimidating phone calls, or emails.
Talk to someone if you are being bullied
The effects of bullying can be physical, emotional or, sometimes, both. It can be very damaging to the person being bullied and can cause sadness and depression.
If you are being bullied, you should talk to someone about the situation. You may want to confide in a parent, teacher, colleague, or friend. Alternatively, you can contact a support group, or a telephone help line, for advice. See 'further information' below for contact details.
Bullying at school
Children who are bullied at school may fall behind in their studies. If you think that your child may be being bullied at school, try asking them a few questions to get a better idea of what goes on while they are at school. For example, you might ask:
Try talking to your child directly, or ask their friends if they think something is wrong. Encourage your child to talk to you and do not dismiss their worries if they come to you. It is important for your child to know that you support them and are there for them.
Boost your child's confidence and make sure that they know there is nothing wrong with them, and that they are loved by you and their friends and family.
If your child is being bullied, make sure that the school knows about it. They should have an anti-bullying policy in place. Both you and your child should talk to their teacher about the bullying. If you are not happy with the result, request a meeting with the head teacher, and make sure that the school keeps you informed about what is happening.
Teach your children to say no to bullies, without resorting to violence. Encourage them to stay with their friends, and to avoid being alone with the bully.
Keep a record of any incidents of bullying, with times and dates, to back up your discussions with teachers and other parents. Even though it may be upsetting, try to keep any emails, texts, or letters, that are sent by the bully. This will also help back up your discussions with teachers and parents.
Bullying at work
Many people do not realise that bullying happens to adult as well as children. It should be treated just as seriously.
Bullying in the workplace could involve putting someone down in front of the boss, or other colleagues, or taking the credit for someone else's work. It could also mean sending nasty messages to someone, or sending them to other people about someone else.
If you are being bullied at work, it may make you upset, depressed, and affect your ability to work effectively. If someone is bullying you at work, try talking to them about it. They may not realise that what they say and do is upsetting you.
Treat hurtful comments lightly and try to laugh them off even if you feel hurt. If you show that you are not bothered, the bully may take no pleasure in teasing you, get bored, and leave you alone.
It someone is picking on you, try to stand up for yourself and be assertive. Some company's offer assertiveness training - ask your manager, or human resources department, about this. If they do not offer any formal training, they may be able to help offer informal advice and help.
Speaking to someone in authority about your concerns can be a big help and can make you feel better. You may realise that other people have noticed the way you are being treated. If you are nervous about speaking to an authority figure, ask a work friend, or union representative, to come with you for support.
If, after speaking to someone in authority about being bullied at work, you are still not satisfied, ask your manager, or human resources department, about the official complaints procedure. If you would like legal advice, you can contact your local Citizen's Advice Bureau (CAB) for help. Their contact details are listed below.
See your GP if bullying is making you ill.
Telephone helpline especially for children:
Helplines that both adults and children can use: