If you're being bullied, don't put up with it; tell someone so that we can put a stop to it!
Bullying can take all kinds of forms, including:
- calling you names or making nasty comments about you
- making fun of you because of your differences, such as your appearance, religion or disability
- kicking, hitting, pinching, biting or pushing you
- making you feel scared to go to school
- taking your things from you or damaging them
- saying things about you that are not true to get you into trouble
- threatening you
- sending you nasty text messages or emails
- telling other people not to play with you or be your friend
- cyber bullying - posting untrue or insulting things about you on the internet
- sending offensive or degrading images by phone or internet
How bullying can affect you
Bullying can lead to serious and prolonged emotional damage. It can dent your confidence and self worth and even make you feel like it's all your fault.
Children and young people who witness bullying, or even bullies themselves, can also experience emotional harm, and even parents and school staff can be significantly affected by bullying.
Bullies behave the way they do usually because something's not right in their own lives. They may feel inadequate or unhappy, have learnt this behaviour, or even have been bullied themselves. We need to understand and deal with their issues so that we can break the bullying cycle.
What to do if you're being bullied
If you're being bullied, you must tell an adult. Talk to your parents or the person who looks after you, your teacher, doctor, school nurse, or some other adult that you trust. You can also report bullying to the police. Whatever you do, don't try to cope with it on your own or try to sort it out yourself; you could make it worse.
If you find it difficult to talk to any of the above, you can talk to a Family Lives UK Support Worker. Call their confidential helpline on 0808 800 2222. This service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. There's more advice on the Family Lives UK website.
What to do if your child's being bullied
If you think your child's being bullied in school, ask to talk to the staff member who deals with bullying. They'll work with you to try to resolve the problem. If things don't get sorted, ask to talk to the headteacher and, if necessary, a member of the school's governing body.
Try to work closely with the school to sort out the bullying problem. Give the staff and governors time to take action, but if you feel the school's not dealing with the problem appropriately and the bullying continues, you can lodge formal complaints about schools. You can also contact us and we'll try to help.
Schools’ anti-bullying and harassment policy
All schools have an anti-bullying policy which tells you how the school is working to prevent bullying, who to contact if your child is being bullied, and what the school will do if they get a report of bullying. This should be available on their website, but if not, ask to see a copy. Some schools have a summary of their anti-bullying policy in their school prospectus.