Information about bullying in the commuitiesAnti-Bullying Network
BackWhat is known about bullying?
  • Bullying can occur in any group of people whatever its type or size or the age of its members.
  • Research suggests that about half the pupils in our schools have been bullied at some time during their school careers. It seems likely that a similar proportion of adults has experienced bullying at some time.
  • Only a minority of people are seriously bullied, but this is a significant minority and some have their lives altered as a result.
  • There are many different forms of bullying. At one end of the spectrum it merges into relatively harmless teasing and at the other it becomes serious assault or harassment.
  • Verbal and psychological bullying can be just as harmful and hurtful as physical violence.
  • Sexual and racial harassment are particularly serious forms of bullying.

Why is bullying a community issue?

The concern about bullying in Scottish schools which started to develop about 10 years ago has helped to raise awareness about the harm caused by bullying and aggression elsewhere in society. Incidents have been reported in voluntary youth and adult organisations, the armed forces, prison, the workplace etc.

The wider community beyond the school gates needs to address this issue for a number of reasons including:

  • Bullying is an infringement of an individual’s rights
  • A community or organisation which condones or ignores bullying loses respect
  • Adults should provide non-bullying role models for young people

Helping schools

Community groups can work with schools to reduce the level of bullying among young people. An episode of bullying is rarely confined to one situation. For example, an incident at a youth club may well be linked to something which has happened earlier in the day at school. It is helpful if youth leaders and teachers have discussed procedures for dealing with problems like this.

Some organisations have helped to provide schools with anti-bullying resources. For example, Grampian Police and Rotary International have both supported the production and distribution of anti-bullying CD-ROMs for use in the classroom.


What should youth and community groups do?

The development of anti-bullying policies in schools provides a model for any group in society.

  • Awareness of the scope and nature of the problem can be raised through research and discussion.
  • A policy should be developed outlining how bullying can be prevented and how incidents are dealt with after they have happened. If it is to work, such a policy must involve all members of the organisation.
  • Bullying behaviour of all kinds must be challenged. Everybody must get a clear message that bullying is wrong.

More information
  • Spotlight 43 - Finding out about Bullying [available here]
  • A leaflet about ParentLine Scotland
  • Information about conferences being organised by the Anti-Bullying Network [go here]

Important numbers
  • 0800 44 1111 - the ChildLine Bullying Line is for young people who have a problem with bullying.
  • 0808 800 2222 - ParentLine Scotland aims to help parents with any kind of worry or problem.
  • 0141 339 9232 – the Workplace Bullying Information Line Scotland is open 7-9 pm on Tuesday evenings and 10-12 noon on Saturday mornings [visit our workplace section]

Back Useful reading

A Community Approach to Bullying by Peter Randall (1996) pub, Trentham Books: ISBN 185856060

Bullying: Home, School and Community by Delwyn Tattum and Graham Herbert (1997) pub. David Fulson Publishers: ISBN 1853464457

Bullying - A Community Approach by Brendan Byrne (1994) pub. The Columba Press: ISBN 1856071030

Bully in Sight: How to Predict, Resist, Challenge and Combat Workplace Bullying by Tim Field (1996) pub. Success Unlimited: ISBN 0952912104

Adults Bullying - Perpetrators and Victims by Peter Randall (1997) pub, Routledge: ISBN 0415126738

You may also want to read the following information sheets that we have produced: