UK law deals with the worst of school bullies. Find out what parents can do about a bullying at school and how to report a bully.
BULLYING LAWS UK: Bullying in schools becomes illegal if the aggressor is violent or causes an assault.
You should report some types of bullying to the police, such as any time it involves:
Note: Phone 999 if you or someone else is in immediate danger!
The Annual Bullying Survey is an international anti-bullying charity. In 2017, they surveyed more than 10.000 schools and colleges (12 - 20-year-olds) in the United Kingdom.
Bullying statistics show that 54% of young people have been bullied by another person. Many of the school bullies admitted doing it on a regular basis. In fact, 11% said they bullied someone else every day.
As a rule, the way a child looks is the main subject of bullying at school. Around 50% of bullied pupils said their appearance received most intimidation from bullies. Other reasons include attitudes towards hobbies, high school grades, and pupils with disabilities.
Education facilities must follow all school rules and regulations in the United Kingdom. By law, there must be a behaviour policy in place at all state schools (this rule excludes private schools).
The policy must include satisfactory measures to prevent, and deal with, all forms of bullying among pupils. Each school determines their own individual policy. But, every school must inform their teachers, parents, and pupils of what it is and what parents can do about bullying.
The school and its teaching staff are also required to follow UK anti-discrimination laws. The discriminatory rules apply for all schools in England and Wales (and most in Scotland). The aim is to prevent all forms of harassment, victimisation, and discrimination in schools.
Note: Anti-discrimination laws differ in Northern Ireland. Contact the 'Equality Commission for Northern Ireland' (ECNI) for further details.
As a rule, it would be most appropriate to report bullying to your child's school in the first instance. You could also discuss the matter with someone of trust if it takes place outside of the school.
But not all bullying in the United Kingdom takes place at schools and colleges. Other examples outside of school include online harassment or at night clubs.
Note: Contact crime and policing in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Always inform the police if bullying involves violence or crime.
Note: There are ways to complain about a school if you feel it did not 'adequately' dealt with your concerns.
The Anti-Bullying Alliance is one of many organisations available. They offer free help and advice for people with concerns about bullying.
National Children's Bureau
8 Wakley Street
London EC1V 7QE
Telephone: 0800 1111
There may be times when you must deal with your child's school problems out of schooling hours. Head teachers at state schools have legal powers to ensure pupils behave themselves. They can deal with any bully outside the school premises (e.g. in a town center or on public transport).
In fact, there is no legal definition of bullying per se. But, bullying means to use superior strength or influence to intimidate someone. Often, it forces them to do something against their will.
Bullying behaviour gets defined as repeated, and usually intending to hurt someone. The hurt can be physical or emotional. Often, it gets aimed at certain groups of people in particular. This is usually because of their gender, sexual orientation, religion, or race.
Bullies use physical assault, they tease, make verbal threats with name calling. Cyberbullying is also recognised as one of the newest forms of bullying. Conducted online, it travels through the internet or via mobile phones. It targets those using social networks, instant messenger, and emails.
Dealing with Bullying at School in the United Kingdom