What is bullying?

Bullying is usually defined as behaviour that is:

  • Repeated
  • Intended to hurt someone physically and/or emotionally
  • Often aimed at specific groups, for example because of race, religion, gender or sexual orientation

Obvious bullying can include:

  • Physical assault
  • Intimidation
  • Threats and name callng

Other forms of bullying can be harder to spot, such as exclusion or looks that convey meaning.

You can find more information on the signs of bullying at the Anti-Bullying Alliance and ChildLine.

What is cyber bullying?

Cyber bullying (also called 'online bullying') is when a person or a group of people use the internet, email, online games or any other kind of social media or digital technology to threaten, tease, upset or humiliate someone else. This can include trolling, mobbing, stalking or any form of abuse online.

Is bullying illegal?

Some forms of bullying are illegal and should be reported to the police. These include:

  • Violence or assault
  • Theft
  • Repeated harrassment or inimidation (including threatening phone calls and messages)
  • Hate crimes (against specific groups such as ethnic groups, gay or transgender people

What should I do?

Read the Anti-Bullying Alliance's advice for parents and carers this includes how you can help if your child is being bullied.

In school, staff should deal with bullying depending how serious it is. It might be dealt with using the school's behaviour policy or they might report it to the police and/or social services.