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Bullying is a serious problem in schools and workplaces worldwide. It leads to humiliation, fear, low self-esteem and depression. Bullying is not dependent on age, sex, socio-economic background, religion, culture — bullying can happen to anyone and can occur anywhere.

What is Bullying?

Bullying is a repeated, intentionally hurtful form of behaviour perpetrated by one or more individuals against another. There is always an imbalance of power involved in bullying in favour of the bully or bullies.

All bullying needs to be dealt with swiftly and firmly and an anti-bullying policy is a vital part of bullying prevention in all organisations.

Bullying is a complex issue and involves:

  • The bully — the person or persons carrying out the bullying.
  • The target — the person on the receiving end of the bullying.
  • The bystander — people who stand by and either watch and cheer on the bully or turn away and do nothing.
  • Location — where the bullying takes place — school playground, canteen, office etc.
  • Type of bullying — verbal, physical, racist, homophobic, sexist etc.
  • Bully’s support — those who encourage the bullying.
  • Target’s support — those who try to support and help the target.
  • Figure of authority — the recipient of the bullying report — teacher, parent, HR manager etc.
  • Action — the action that is taken to tackle the bullying.

Defining Bullying

The definition of bullying is as follows:

“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.”

It is clear from this that a one-off incidence of verbal or physical abuse is not bullying — it has to be repeated over a period of time with the specific aim of causing harm or distress to the target.

Types of Bullying

There are three main types of bullying:

  • Direct bullying
  • Indirect bullying
  • Cyberbullying

What is the Difference Between Bullying and Cyberbullying?

Cyberbullying is fast becoming the most common form of bullying in today’s technology driven world and this type of bullying takes place via text messages, emails, instant messages, online forums, chat rooms, social networks etc. Cyberbullying is usually carried out anonymously and therefore it can be difficult to trace the person or people responsible.

Direct Bullying

Many forms of bullying are direct. Direct bullying is a form of bullying that is easy to prove. There is usually evidence to support that it is actually occurring because it can be witnessed by the target’s peers and colleagues. It includes verbal abuse, physical assault, offline and online threats, derogatory remarks and insults. Direct bullying is:

  • Verbal
  • Physical
  • Easier to prove
  • Usually observable
  • Often witnessed

Indirect Bullying

Indirect bullying is very common in the workplace. It is more subtle and less direct. It is more difficult to prove than direct bullying and includes exclusion, spreading rumours, gossiping, overburdening the target with work, questioning the target’s ability to do their job or pass an exam. Indirect bullying has the following traits:

  • Usually devious and less direct
  • Can be difficult to prove
  • Typically carried out secretly
  • Often lacks witnesses

How Can We Tackle Bullying?

Whether we are dealing with school bullying or bullying in the workplace, there are many ways to tackle bullying and they vary depending on the context of the bullying. Schools, teachers, parents, carers, businesses and anyone in a position of authority have their own part to play in bullying prevention and addressing the subject of bullying in general. There are a number of laws surrounding bullying so it is vital that everyone is aware of any possible bullying problems taking place. The most important step for all organisations is to develop an anti-bullying policy.

Anti-Bullying Policy

Why do we need an anti-bullying policy in schools and businesses? All organisations need an anti-bullying policy to give direction and guidance in preventing and tackling bullying. The anti-bullying policies and procedures should be available to everyone and a copy should be provided on the school or company website.

  • Drafting an anti-bullying policy — it is vital to draft a policy which establishes a code of conduct so that everyone knows what behaviour is acceptable and unacceptable.
  • Implementing an anti-bullying policy — once the policy is finalised everyone must agree to abide by it.
  • Updating your anti-bullying policy — remember to check government legislation regarding anti-bullying laws and keep your policy up-to-date.

A good anti-bullying policy will include:

  1. A definition of bullying.
  2. What behaviour is and is not acceptable in your organisation.
  3. Who is responsible for enforcing your anti-bullying policy.
  4. An outline of how bullying is dealt with.
  5. Details of how the policy will be kept up to date with legislation.

Our bullying resource pack ‘Bullying — A Complete Approach’ provides additional guidance on setting up an anti-bullying policy.

It is becoming more important to eradicate bullying wherever it occurs. All Resources produces resources to help organisations recognise bullying and to assist them in dealing with bullying. We also develop custom programmes and deliver anti-bullying workshops. Please contact us for more information.

Downloadable Bullying Resources

[Resource Pack thumbnail] Bullying — A Complete Approach

Bullying — A Complete Approach

Contains hints and tips for teachers, parents and young people to enable them to identify and tackle bullying.

Ebook: £10.99 Download

Hard copy: £35.99 add to basket

[Resource Pack thumbnail] Bullying in the Workplace

Bullying in the Workplace

This pack provides tips and guidance for companies on how to tackle workplace bullying, how to best support the targets of bullying and how to ensure the wellbeing of all staff.

Ebook: £8.99 Download

Hard copy: £25.99 add to basket

Bullying Lesson Plans

[Lesson Plan thumbnail] Bullying


This lesson plan covers what bullying is and the different types of bullying. It discusses the bully and the targets of bullying and how to tackle the problem.

Ebook: £2.99 Download

Hard copy: £10.99 add to basket

[Lesson Plan thumbnail] Bullying and Cyberbullying

Bullying and Cyberbullying

A lesson plan on bullying and cyberbullying. It covers how to deal with bullying and cyberbullying and contains handouts for the classroom.

Ebook: £2.99 Download

Hard copy: £10.99 add to basket