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What is bullying?

Bullying usually involves a person (a ‘bully’) or group of people (‘bullies’) acting in a harmful way towards the person being bullied. The bully or bullies put themselves in a position of power over the person being bullied, which they then exert by treating this person in a negative, often derogatory way. Being bullied has a negative effect on how a person feels about themselves and can in some circumstances lead to an individual being abused.

Bullying can occur when bullies target a person for something that makes that person different from them; the difference might be based on race, ethnicity, size, appearance, disability, religious background, sexuality or gender.

Bullying is often thought to usually occur in a school setting but it can take place in different contexts:

  • Cyberbullying – Bullying that occurs online e.g. social media, online forums, and WhatsApp.
  • Workplace Bullying– Bullying that occurs at your place of work

How do you know you are being bullied?

Bullying can occur in a number of different ways, some of these include:

  • Calling someone derogatory names

  • Making racist, queerphobic or sexist comments

  • Teasing, taunting or winding someone up

  • Starting and spreading rumours about someone

  • Giving someone the silent treatment – refusing to acknowledge or talk to someone

  • Excluding someone or singling them out as different

  • Pushing someone about

  • Violently attacking someone

  • Stealing, moving or destroying someone’s stuff

  • Posting videos, photos or comments about someone against their will

How to look after yourself and get help for bullying

  • Positive self-talk: Only say things to yourself that you would say to your best friend; treat yourself like you would treat your best friend.

  • Do activities that you enjoy like your hobbies. Watch a feel-good film and create a playlist of your favourite songs.

  • Spend time with people who care for you and make you feel good about yourself.

  • Join a peer support group to surround yourself with people who are supportive and can respect your uniqueness and individuality.

  • Talk to someone outside of the situation like a counsellor or trained listener at Childline (0800 1111) and Samaritans (116 123).

  • If the bullying is taking place at school, talk to a teacher or school nurse – your school might have adopted an anti-bullying policy which should include strategies to address it.

  • Bullying in the workplace can be reported to a line manager, senior staff member or human resources (HR). If this does not help then you can consider seeking support from a trade union representative.

  • Report abusive posts, videos or comments to the social media platform where they have been posted.

  • Try limiting the time you spend on social media or plan a social media detox every now and again.

  • Consider making your accounts private and only accept follows and friend requests from people you trust.

Call us

Support Line 0800 980 7475

Monday to Saturday, 3 to 6pm

Croydon Service 020 8251 0251

Merton Service 020 3984 4004

Sutton Service 020 8680 8899