Bullying is when anyone deliberately tries to hurt you, intimidate you or put you under stress for periods of time. No one should have to put up with being bullied and there are people who can help.
There are many ways to prevent or stop bullying. If you are being bullied you must tell a parent, a teacher or someone else you trust. Many people get bullied at some point in their life, and it can happen almost anywhere - at home, school or even at work. You may feel scared, vulnerable or alone and, in some cases, even suicidal. But don't be frightened - please tell someone.
What is bullying?
Some examples of bullying include:
- Being called names
- Being ignored or left out
- Being hit, pushed, pulled, pinched or kicked
- Having your belongings damaged
- Having your money stolen
- Having nasty rumours spread about you
- Being attacked or teased because of your religion, gender, sexuality, disability, appearance or ethnic/racial origin
- Being sent threatening or abusive text messages or e-mails
- Being forced to do things you don’t want to do
Who gets bullied?
Anyone can be bullied. Some people are victimised because they are different, but many are bullied for no obvious reason. Bullies will look for differences or certain characteristics in people and use these to intimidate and harass them. There is never an acceptable excuse for bullying and it is important to remember that it is not the fault of the person being bullied - the problem lies with the bully.
What can I do if I’m being bullied?
If you are being bullied or harassed you may feel like ignoring it in the hope it will go away. If you are being bullied, there are some practical things that you can do and it is very important that you get help:
- Don’t feel embarrassed or ashamed about being bullied. No one deserves it and it's not your fault
- Talk to someone that you trust and feel comfortable with. This could be a parent, a teacher, a friend or a Connexions Personal Adviser
- If you can, try to keep a diary of what has been happening. Record as many details as you can of the bullying incidents and how it made you feel. When you decide to tell someone, a written record of the bullying makes it easier to prove what has been going on
- If you are being bullied at school, ask a teacher to tell you about the school’s guidelines on bullying. Most schools have policies on bullying and this may give you an idea of what you can do and how your school can help you
- Try to keep safe. Avoid being alone in places where you know the bully is likely to pick on you. This may mean changing your route to school or making sure you are with other people. This may not seem fair, but it will make it more difficult for the bully to pick on you
If you see or know of someone who is being bullied, don’t ignore it. You could let the person know what you have seen and offer to help them report what has been happening. The most important thing is to be there if the person being bullied needs a friend to talk to. If you are worried about getting yourself into trouble, you could approach an adult or teacher yourself, or write them a note to let them know what you have seen. People need to be informed about what is going on to be able to do something about it.
It is important to be aware that certain actions and attitudes can have a distressing effect on others. All young people should be careful that their actions do not upset anyone else.
The NSPCC - the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children - specialises in child protection and the prevention of cruelty to children. If you're worried about a child, call the NSPCC Helpline on 0808 800 5000 24 hours a day, or visit the NSPCC website.
The NSPCC's Childline helpline provides practical help and support about bullying to young people. Call Freephone 0800 11 11 or visit the Childline website.
Kidscape is a UK charity established specifically to prevent bullying and child sexual abuse. The Kidscape Helpline on 08451 205 204 offers help and advice to parents, carers or concerned relatives and friends of bullied or abused children.
Bullying UK offers useful information and advice for children, parents and teachers. If you need help or confidential advice, visit the Bullying UK website.
Refuge works to help victims overcome many different forms of violence and abuse. In partnership with Women's Aid, Refuge operate the 24 hour National Domestic Violence Helpline on Freephone 0808 2000 247.