Anti-Bullying Week is here again and it is a fantastic opportunity for organisations and schools all over the country to examine their anti-bullying policies.
Bullying is a regular form of deliberate behaviour that causes the target physical or emotional distress and can be carried out by an individual or a group over a period of time. In all cases of bullying, somebody suffers physical or emotional distress due to the actions of an individual or a group and the harmful behaviour continues over a period of weeks, months or even years.
Bullying is rarely out of the news — whether it is school bullying or bullying in the workplace. However, it is a difficult area to study because, in many ways, it is a secret activity. The target of bullying will often refuse to discuss the situation either out of fear of reprisal or because they do not want to be seen as telling tales. They may also feel that nothing will be done about their situation, or the bullying will get worse if they report it.
Someone who witnesses bullying, known as a bystander, may keep silent for the same reasons. However, by turning away and doing nothing, they are allowing the bullying to continue which causes more distress to the person being bullied. It is important that all incidences of bullying are reported as soon as possible.
To most people, a bully is a powerful person who inflicts physical violence on a weaker person. But bullying does not always involve physical assault and a person who is being bullied does not necessarily have cuts and bruises to prove it. In most cases the target suffers from verbal abuse which covers a variety of situations including name calling, taunting, verbal threats, demanding money and other forms of intimidation. Another method of bullying is exclusion — the target is totally ignored and not included in activities with classmates or work colleagues. This can be extremely distressing for the excluded person as they can feel completely cut off.
In our technology-driven world, cyberbullying is fast becoming the bullying method of choice. Cyberbullying takes place via text messages, emails, instant messages, online forums, chat rooms, social networks etc. It is becoming more and more common and, because of the anonymous nature of this type of bullying, it can be difficult to trace the person or persons behind it.
Anti-Bullying Week is a chance for all of us to make a stand against bullying and cyberbullying — and in fact any form of verbal and physical violence and hatred.
Read our cyberbullying blog article which looks at this method in more detail and the ways in which you can protect yourself from this form of bullying.