What is bullying?
Whilst there is no legal definition of bullying, it is widely acknowledged that bullying encompasses a range of behaviours intended to cause harm (e.g., physically, emotionally), is repeated, and is often aimed at wide range of demographic groups (e.g., sexual orientation, race, religion). Bullying affects children, young people, and adults, and can take place across a number of settings – in schools, the workplace, as well as in sports teams, in addition to online (cyber bullying). The list is by no means exhaustive.
Bullying is also common. For example, the World Health Organisation reports that one-third of children have been bullied by their peers. In the UK, Department for Education reported that 40% of young people had been bullied in the last 12 months and Ofcom (2017) reported that 1 in 8 young people have been bullied on social media. Within the workplace, six in 10 employees reported that they had been bullied or had witnessed bullying over the past six months. Moreover, within 19 higher education institutions surveyed by the University and College Union, one in 10 reported being ‘always’ or ‘often’ bullied. The impact of bullying mental health can be extensive – there is evidence that exposure to bullying in childhood contributes to the development of mental health conditions in adolescence such as anxiety and depression, as well as in adulthood.
Given the extent to which bullying can impact lives, Bullying UK (Twitter: @BullyingUK) lead Anti-Bullying week each year to raise awareness of the issue. In 2018, Anti-bullying week in the UK falls between the 12th-16th November, with this year’s theme focusing on ‘Choose Respect’.
There are a number of resources available, which provide information about bullying and advice on what the next steps can be.
Children and Young People
- Bullying UK
- Young Minds – Get help for bullying
- Childline – Types of bullying
- Anti-bullying Alliance – If you’re being bullied
- GOV.UK – Workplace bullying and harassment
- ACAS – Bullying and harassment at work: a guide for employees and guide for managers and employers
- Bullying UK
- National Bullying Helpline
- NSPCC – Bullying and cyberbullying
- NHS – Bullying at work
- Unison – Bullying and harassment
Blog post written by Dr Rachel Moss (Twitter: @DrRMoss), Research Associate on the PGR Wellbeing project at the University of Portsmouth (School of Education and Sociology).