Bullying

Sefton Council takes bullying very seriously and works with schools, parents and our many partners to ensure that all children are free from bullying and intimidation.

For the children and young people involved, the school and for the community outside the school gates, the effects of bullying are serious and long-term.


Bullying can be defined as behaviour that is:

  • Intended to hurt someone either physically or emotionally.
  • Often aimed at certain groups, e.g. due to race, religion, gender or sexual orientation.
  • Repeated.

It takes many forms and can include:

  • Physical assault.
  • Teasing.
  • Making threats.
  • Name calling.
  • Cyberbullying - bullying via mobile phone or online (eg email, social networks and instant messenger).

 

Warning signs of bullying can include:
 
•    Not wanting to go to or skipping school.  
•    Pretending to be ill when it's time for school.
•    No explanation for injuries.
•    Not sleeping and an increase in nightmares.
•    Afraid to walk or use public transport to and from school.  
•    Losing interest in school work.  
•    Running away.  
•    Changes in behaviour - becoming anxious, withdrawn or aggressive.  
•    Loss of appetite.   
•    Self-harm - advice should be sought from GP straight away.
•    Asking for money or starting to steal.   
•    Possessions continue to go missing.  
•    Aggressive towards family.  

If you suspect your child is being bullied, do not ignore it.

  • Find a quiet time to talk to your child. Explain that bullying is unacceptable and that no one should have to put up with it. Promise to do all you can to stop it.
  • Encourage them to talk to their teacher and / or contact the school yourself . Keep any details for example, time, save texts, copies of emails, dates that will help the school understand the situation.
  • Make an appointment to see your child's teacher as soon as possible.

At some stage in their life looked after children may experience bullying at school, in the local community and sometimes from other children in the foster home. As foster carers responsible for safeguarding them you should look out for signs of bullying and should take steps to prevent it.

Prior to the meeting at the school:

  • Decide what you want to say and what you would like to achieve from the meeting before you go. It may be helpful to write down about events that have occurred.
  • Try to stay calm even though you may feel angry and emotional.
  • Do not blame the teacher - he or she may be unaware of the bullying.
  • Give specific examples of how your child is being bullied.
  • All schools have to have a published anti-bullying policy, which you can request yourself.
  • Discuss what action the teacher will take.
  • Arrange to meet again within two weeks to review progress.

If you are unhappy with the way your child's teacher deals with the situation - either at the meeting or after the school has taken action - make an appointment to see the head teacher.

Children and young people who bully others need help to stop their behaviour.

If your child is bullying others:

  • Discuss with your child how would they feel if they were on the receiving end of the bullying.
  • See if you can get your child to understand how frightened and upset the victim feels.
  • Look at ways you can work together to stop this bullying behaviour.
  • Tell your child that you are confident that he or she can change their behaviour because you know that your child is not really a bully, and you know they are capable of kindness and empathy.
  • If your child is bullying in a ‘gang' help them to develop new interests and encourage friendships away from that group.
  • Support the measures that the organisations (such as school) take to stop the bullying.
  • Explain that the bullying behaviour is completely unacceptable and that if they continue to bully others they could be excluded from school or get in trouble with the Police.
  • Explain that there will be consequences (such as loss of privileges) if the bullying does not stop.



There are a number of teams and services in Sefton who can support you (see emails below):

 

Attendance and Welfare Service

Telephone: 0151 934 3359

 

Peter Yip, Equality and Diversity Coordinator

Telephone: 01704 395 945

 

BullyBusters

BullyBusters is an anti-bullying initiative with a free phone confidential helpline for children and young people and their families. You can call them freephone on 0800 169 6928 or visit their website (see below).

 

SIGMA Unit [HATE CRIME]

Tel: 0151 777 3020

 

There is also support from lots of organisations who operate across the UK, who you can find in our related links.