Bullying and Hate Crime

Bullying is when a person, or group of people, makes someone feel frightened or bad about themselves.

Bullying - advice for parents and carers

Bullying can include name-calling, violence, theft or being forced to do something they do not want to do.

Traditionally, bullying has taken place in the school playground. These days bullies also use text messages, emails, websites, social networking sites and forums to be abusive.

What should I do if my child is being bullied?

Many children are good at hiding their feelings and the first you may know of the problem is when your child suddenly does not want to go to school. Other signs of bullying can include unexplained cuts and bruises, lost dinner money, friendship problems and mood swings.

You should try to:

  • Offer your child as much support as you can
  • Encourage them to talk about it
  • Suggest they keep a diary of everthing that happens
  • If the bullying is taking place in school, contact your child's teacher, or headteacher and talk to them about what's happening.

Bullying and the law

Being bullied can be an upsetting and frightening experience. However, not all incidents of bullying are a crime and, therefore, they may not be a matter for the police. The best people to deal with these incidents are parents, teachers or other responsible adults.

However, some types of bullying are illegal and they should be reported to the police. This includes bullying that involves:

  • Violence or assault
  • Theft
  • Harassment and intimidation over a period of time. This includes calling someone names, or threatening them, making abusive phone calls and sending abusive emails or text messages.
  • Any incident involving hate crimes.

For more information about bullying, please see our youth sections:

Bullying 5-9: advice

Voices of the Bullied

Uploaded on 10 Feb 2011

Jonathan McKee invites his 17-year-old son Alec to share with him as they speak to a group of 450 teenagers about the effects of bullying.

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