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What is bullying?

Find out about bullying and the symptoms and signs that someone is being bulled.

Calderdale Youth Council defines bullying as:

"Physical or emotional attacks that invade our personal space, usually on a passive victim. This can be direct or indirect and result in the victim feeling uncomfortable or hurt".

The Department of Education defines bullying as:

"Behaviour by an individual or group, usually repeated over time. This aims to hurt a person or group, either physically or emotionally".

Bullying covers many things, but in general, it will have these common:

  • It is deliberate hurtful behaviour by a person or group that causes physical or emotional harm.
  • It is often repeated over a period of time, but sometimes may be a one off incident.
  • There is a real or perceived imbalance of power. This leaves children and young people feeling unable to prevent it or put a stop to it.

It is crucial to acknowledge the impact that bullying has on a child or young person when dealing with issues of bullying. Not whether the behaviour towards the child or young person fits a specified definition.

Symptoms and signs of bullying

Any of these can mean that a child or young person is being bullied. They may:

  • Shows stress. Such as, being moody, silent, crying or becomes withdrawn.
  • Make excuses to miss school. Such as, stomach complaints or headaches (or they skip school).
  • Seem upset after using the Internet/mobile or changes their behaviour. For example, no longer wants to look at new messages right away. Also, being secretive and unwilling to talk about their online activities and phone use.
  • Change their normal route to school.
  • Be very hungry when getting home from school. Although they have been given a packed lunch or dinner money.
  • Begin to do poorly in school work without reasons.
  • Have more bruises or scrapes than usual.
  • Change their eating habits.
  • Ask for unusual amounts of money or begin to steal.
  • Refuse to say what is wrong.
  • Start to bully others.
  • Avoid certain activities. For example, where pupils from school are involved.
  • Have torn clothes, school things that are broken/missing or have "lost" money.
  • Sleep badly.
  • Begin to wet the bed.

There can be other signs, but there could also be other reasons for these changes.

If you are worried that something is wrong, ask them directly about it. Ask them if they are being bullied.

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