There is no legal definition of bullying in Scotland. The Scottish Government defines bullying as both behaviour and impact, where the impact is on a person’s capacity to feel in control of themselves. This is a person’s sense of ‘agency’. Bullying takes place in the context of relationships; it is behaviour that can make people feel hurt, threatened, frightened or left out. This behaviour can happen face-to-face and/or online.
Safe Strong and Free believes that a shared understanding of bullying helps create safe environments and enables children to become successful learners, confident individuals, responsible citizens and effective contributors.
A young person’s experience of bullying behaviour is affected by the response they get from the person they tell. We need to listen and get it right. We all need to be aware of our roles and responsibilities in assuring that all children feel valued and cared for.
Our bullying awareness workshop is available to schools, clubs and groups. It covers attitudes to bullying, bullying behaviours and causes of bullying, prejudice-based bullying, the impact of bullying and how to respond to bullying behaviour.
Behaviour: What somebody does
Hitting, kicking, punching, biting, pushing
Calling a child mean names, speaking in a mean way, teasing
Ignoring, threatening, telling other people not to play with a child
Sending mean texts, being mean online
Reasons people might engage in bullying behaviour include something that is making them sad, they don’t know how to be a good friend, they are jealous, or they are trying to make themselves feel powerful by hurting someone else’s feelings.
Impact: The effect that behaviour has on a child
Example Someone keeps calling you “smelly” all the time. They tell everyone in the class to stay away from you because you smell so bad. That person is behaving in a way which could make you feel hurt and upset. If it makes you feel hurt and upset then it’s bullying.
However, another scenario could be: Someone calls you “smelly”. It’s a silly nickname they’ve had for you since nursery (all your friends have silly nicknames for each other) and you think it’s funny when they call you smelly. In this case, it isn’t bullying because the person calling you smelly is not trying to be mean, and it’s not having an impact on you because you think it’s funny.
So bullying is when someone does something mean to you AND it makes you feel sad or worried or scared.