Pan Lancashire SCB Logo

Top of page

Size: View this website with small text View this website with medium text View this website with large text View this website with high visibility

5.3 Bullying


  Impact of Bullying on the Child
  Action to Safeguard


  1. The government has defined bullying as: "Behaviour by an individual or group, usually repeated over time, that intentionally hurts another individual or group either physically or emotionally" and cyberbullying as: "The use of Information Communications Technology (ICT), particularly mobile phones and the internet, deliberately to upset someone else". See also Online Safeguarding Procedure;
  2. Bullying can take many forms, but the three main types are:
    • Physical;
    • Verbal;
    • Emotional.
  3. Increasingly, information technology is being used as a means of communicating verbal and emotional bullying.
  4. Bullying often starts with apparently trivial events such as teasing and name calling which nevertheless rely on an abuse of power. Agencies working with incidents of bullying should consider whether there are any child protection issues to be considered and whether a Referral to Children's Social Care is necessary in relation to the child bully, (see Action Taken When a Child is Referred to Local Authority Children's Social Care Services Procedure) the child victim or both, including under the Peer Abuse Procedure.

Impact of Bullying on the Child

  1. Any child may be bullied, but bullying often occurs if a child has been identified in some ways as vulnerable or different to the majority. They may also be inclined to spend more time on their own.
  2. Children living away from home are particularly vulnerable to bullying and abuse by their peers.
  3. The damage inflicted by bullying can frequently be underestimated. It can cause considerable distress to children, to the extent that it affects their health and development or, at the extreme, causes them Significant Harm (including self-harm). See Self-Harm or Suicidal Ideation Procedure
  4. Children are often held back from telling anyone about their experience either by threats or a feeling that nothing can change their situation.
  5. Parents, carers and agencies need to be alert to any changes in behaviour such as refusing to attend school or a particular place or activity, or becoming withdrawn and isolated.

Action to Safeguard

  1. All settings in which children are provided with services or are living away from home should have in place rigorously enforced anti-bullying strategies.
  2. This includes schools as well as all youth clubs and all other children's organisations where the anti bullying strategies should be rigorously enforced.
  3. The following principles will apply:
    • A sense of community will be achieved only if organisations take seriously behaviour which upsets children;
    • Recognition of each child's individual needs will reduce the likelihood of them becoming isolated and vulnerable and, where it is a residential setting, supports them to adapt to their living arrangements;
    • Friendships between children should be nurtured;
    • Support should be offered to children for whom English is not their first language to communicate needs and concerns;
    • Support should also be offered to children who have any difficulties in communicating as a result of a learning and/or physical disability - see alsoDisabilities and Learning Difficulties Procedure;
    • Children should be able to approach any member of staff within the organisation with personal concerns in the knowledge that the staff will respond appropriately.
  4. Where a child is thought to be exposed to bullying, action should be taken to assess the child's needs and provide support services.
  5. A range of active listening techniques which provide a more helpful response include:

    THE LISTENER: Listening patiently with full attention, encouraging, clarifying, restating, reflecting, validating, summarising;

    THE DETECTIVE: Investigating the situation sensitively and patiently;

    THE SUPPORTER: Seeing their side, acknowledging and allowing expression of their feelings;

    THE COACH: Checking out what help is being asked for and offering practical, realistic help.

  6. Parents should be informed and updated on a regular basis. They should also, when applicable, be involved in supporting programmes devised to challenge bullying behaviour.