Reducing bullying amongst the worst affected
Bullying Affects the Majority of School Children in the UK
1. Bullying affects most school children at some point, either as a victim, a bully or as a bystander.
2. The worst-affected groups, such as those with SEN, experience bullying more frequently, intensively and persistently.
3. The causes of bullying are usually similar; it comes from a drive to demonstrate or experiment with social power and often focuses on the perceived ‘difference’ of a victim.
4. The research suggests that the likelihood of participating in bullying behaviour is strongly correlated with what a potential bully sees as ‘normal’ behaviour in that particular context.
5. The importance of social context suggests that ‘whole school approaches’ that work to make bullying less acceptable and empower bystanders to act may be effective in tackling all forms of bullying. The effectiveness of this sort of approach is supported by significant weight of academic research and case studies (Olweus 1991,1993; Farrington, 2008).
6. The increased frequency and severity with which some victims experience bullying suggests those most at risk might need specific support. Where bullying involves prejudice, support should be sensitive to the specific types of bullying that is being experienced.
7. There is a misperception that bullying is more frequent and is undertaken by more people than in reality.
8. Research suggests that work that corrects misperceptions of bullying frequency, where it exists, may have a significant effect on an individual’s propensity to bully.