What Is Bullying?
There may sometimes be misunderstanding about the meaning of the term ‘bullying'. At STEP we define bullying as a persistent, deliberate attempt to hurt or humiliate someone.
There are various types of definitions of bullying, but most have three things in common:
- It is deliberately hurtful behaviour
- It is repeated over time
- There is an imbalance of power, which makes it hard for those being bullied to defend themselves.
- Bullying can be:
- Emotional being unfriendly, excluding, tormenting (e.g. hiding possessions, threatening gestures)
- Physical pushing, kicking, hitting, punching or any use of violence
- Racist racial taunts, graffiti, gestures
- Sexual unwanted physical contact or sexually abusive comments
- Homophobic because of, or focussing on the issue of sexuality
- Verbal name-calling, sarcasm, spreading rumours, teasing
Cyber: All areas of internet, such as email & internet chat room misuse
- Mobile threats by text messaging & calls
- Misuse of associated technology, i.e. camera and video facilities
SEN/Disability bullying: Examples may include:
- Name-calling based on a disability or learning difficulties
- Name-calling based on Special Educational Needs
The Disability Discrimination Act (1995) places a duty on schools/youth provisions to ensure that any person with a ‘physical or mental impairment, which has substantial and long term adverse effect on his/her ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities' is not subject to discrimination
Why is it Important to Respond to Bullying?
Bullying hurts. No one deserves to be a victim of bullying. Everybody has the right to be treated with respect. Young people who are bullying need to learn different ways of behaving.
We have a responsibility to respond promptly and effectively to issues of bullying.
Objectives of this Policy
All staff, young people and parents/carers should have an understanding of what bullying is.
All staff should know what STEP's policy is on bullying, and follow it when bullying is reported.
All young people and parents/carers should know what the STEP's policy is on bullying, and what they should do if it arises.
As an organisation, we take bullying seriously. Young people and parents/carers should be assured that they would be supported when bullying is reported.
Bullying will not be tolerated.
Signs and Symptoms
A young person may indicate by signs or behaviour that he or she is being bullied. Workers should be aware of these possible signs and that they should investigate if a young person:
is frightened of coming to groups
changes their usual routine
becomes withdrawn anxious, or lacking in confidence
attempts or threatens suicide or runs away
cries themselves to sleep at night or has nightmares
feels ill during the session
has possessions go "missing"
asks for money or starts stealing money (to pay bully)
has money continually "lost"
has unexplained cuts or bruises
becomes aggressive, disruptive or unreasonable
is bullying other young people or siblings
is frightened to say what's wrong
gives improbable excuses for any of the above
is afraid to use the internet or mobile phone
is nervous & jumpy when a cyber message is received
These signs and behaviours could indicate other problems, but bullying should be considered a possibility and should be investigated.
Report bullying incidents to paid worker who should report to Manager
In all cases of bullying, the incidents will be recorded by staff
In serious cases parents/carers should be informed and If necessary and appropriate, police will be consulted
The bullying behaviour or threats of bullying must be investigated and the bullying stopped quickly
An attempt will be made to help the bully (bullies) change their behaviour
The bully (bullies) may be asked to genuinely apologise. Other consequences may take place.
In serious cases, suspension or exclusion will be considered - Please refer to the disciplinary procedure
If possible, the young people will be reconciled
After the incident / incidents have been investigated and dealt with, each case will be monitored to ensure repeated bullying does not take place.
We will use STEP group boundaries for helping young people to prevent bullying. As and when appropriate, these may include:
signing a behaviour contract
making up role-plays
having discussions about bullying and why it matters
The bully (bullies) may be asked to genuinely apologise. Other consequences may take place.In serious cases, suspension or exclusion will be considered - Please refer to the disciplinary procedureIf possible, the young people will be reconciledAfter the incident / incidents have been investigated and dealt with, each case will be monitored to ensure repeated bullying does not take place.