What is Bullying?
Bullying behaviour can be defined as repeated aggression be it verbal, psychological or physical,
conducted by an individual or group against others. It is behaviour that is intentionally aggravating
and intimidating and occurs mainly in social environments such as schools, clubs and other
organisations working with children and young people.
Why is it Important to Respond to Bullying?
Bullying hurts. No one deserves to be a victim of bullying. Everybody has the right to respect.
Students who are bullying need to learn different ways of behaving. Schools and clubs have a
responsibility to respond promptly and effectively to issues of bullying.
Objectives of this Policy:
• All instructors, senior students and higher grade junior students, students and parents should
have an understanding of what bullying is.
• All instructors and senior students should know what the club policy is on bullying, and follow
it when bullying is reported.
• All students and parents should know what the club policy is on bullying, and what they should
do if bullying arises.
As a club we take bullying seriously. Students and parents should be assured that they will be
supported when bullying is reported.
Bullying will not be tolerated in this club, by its members or to its members.
Bullying contains seven key features:
1. An intention to be hurtful.
2. This intention is carried out.
3. The behaviour harms the target (the person or persons being bullied).
4. The bully overwhelms the target with his or her power (physically or psychologically).
5. There is often no justification for the action.
6. The behaviour repeats itself again and again.
7. The bully derives a sense of satisfaction from hurting the target.
Bullying may occur in any of the following forms:
• Direct bullying – where the behaviour is obvious and bystanders are aware of it, e.g. physical
or verbal bullying.
• Indirect bullying – where the behaviour is more difficult to recognise, e.g. intimidation or
• Verbal bullying – including slandering, ridiculing, slagging, abusive telephone calls, name
• Physical bullying- including pushing, shoving, assaults, damage to person’s property.
• Gesture bullying – including non-verbal gestures/ glances which can convey threatening or
• E-bullying/Cyber-bullying – using web pages, emails, text etc to abuse, intimidate and attack
others, either directly or indirectly.
• Relational bullying – behaviour which sets out to deliberately damage another person’s
friendship or feelings of inclusion in a friendship group, e.g. exclusion, isolation etc.
• Extortion – the deliberate extortion of money or other items of property accompanied by
• Homophobic bullying – bullying that is typically aimed at young people who are gay or who
are perceived to be gay. It can include name calling, isolation and violence.
• Racial bullying – can be expressed physically, socially or psychologically when one is labeled
negatively as being different from others according to one’s race.
• Mobbing – This means that the target is being bullied by a group of perpetrators and not just
How would you know if a child is being bullied?
All bullies operate using furtiveness, threats and fear. Bullying can therefore only survive in an
environment where the victim does not feel empowered to tell someone who can help or in which
it is not safe to do so. The following indicators are warning signs that a young person might be
getting bullied. Adults should be aware of these possible signs and that they should investigate if
a child displays:
• Reluctance to come to a venue or take part in activities.
• Physical signs (unexplained bruises, scratches, or damage to belongings).
• Stress-caused illness – headaches, and stomach aches which seem unexplained.
• Fearful behaviour (fear of walking to a meeting, going different routes, asking to be driven).
• Frequent loss of, or shortage of, money with vague explanations.
• Having few friends.
• Changes in behaviour (withdrawn, stammering, moody, irritable, upset, distressed).
• Not eating.
• Attempting suicide or hinting at suicide.
• Anxiety (shown by nail-biting, fearfulness, tics).
• Is frightened of walking to or from the clubs
• Doesn’t want to go on the school / public bus
• Begs to be driven to school or club
• Changes their usual routine
• Is unwilling to go to school (school phobic) or club
• Begins to truant
• Becomes withdrawn anxious, or lacking in confidence
• Starts stammering
• Attempts or threatens suicide or runs away
• Cries themselves to sleep at night or has nightmares
• Feels ill in the morning
• Begins to do poorly in school work
• Comes home with clothes torn or books damaged
• Has possessions which are damaged or ” go missing”
• Asks for money or starts stealing money (to pay bully)
• Has dinner or other monies continually “lost
• Has unexplained cuts or bruises
• Comes home starving (money / lunch has been stolen)
• Becomes aggressive, disruptive or unreasonable
• Is bullying other children or siblings
• Is frightened to say what’s wrong
• Is afraid to use the internet or mobile phone
• Is nervous & jumpy when a cyber message is received
These signs and behaviours could indicate other problems, but bullying should be considered a
possibility and should be investigated.
Who should deal with bullying?
While the more extreme forms of bullying would be regarded as physical and/or emotional abuse
and are reported to the health board or An Garda Síochana, dealing with bullying behaviour is
normally the responsibility of the Children’s Officer and all Coaches, Mentors and Trainers within
If you or someone you know is being bullied within the club, firstly inform your Coach/Trainer
who will in turn contact the Club’s Children’s Officer to inform them of the situation. Alternatively
you may directly contact the Club’s Children’s Officer (Lisa McGowan) at 085 885 1734 or while in
How can it be prevented?
• Ensure that all members follow the code of conduct, which promotes the rights and dignity of
• Deal with any incidents as they arise.
• Use a whole group policy or “no-blame approach‟, i.e. not “bullying the bully‟ but working
with bullies and the group of young people, helping them to understand the hurt they are
causing, and so make the problem a “shared concern‟ of the group, (see below).
• Reinforce that there is “a permission to tell‟ culture rather than a “might is right‟ within the
• Encourage young people to negotiate, co-operate and help others, particularly new or
• Offer the victim immediate support and put the “no blame approach‟ into operation.
• Never tell a young person to ignore bullying, they can’t ignore it, it hurts too much.
• Never encourage a young person to take the law into their own hands and beat the bully at
their own game.
• Tell the victim there is nothing wrong with them and it is not their fault.
What is the ‘No Blame’ Approach?
Step 1 – Interview with the victim,
If you find that there has been an incident of bullying, first talk to the victim. At this stage find out
who was involved and what the victim is now feeling. Try asking the following questions:
• Was it verbal or physical intimidation?
• How hurt is the victim?
• Was it within his/her own peer group?
• Ensure the victim that his/her name will not come out in the investigation.
• Actively listen.
Step 2 – Meet with all involved
Arrange to meet with all those involved; this should include some bystanders, those who may
have colluded, those who joined in and those who initiated the bullying.
• Have a maximum of six to eight in the group – keep the number controllable.
• Make a point of calling a “special” meeting.
• Ensure the severity of the topic is understood by all.
• Speak only of the hurt caused in general terms with no reference to the victim.
• Play on the conscience of all – ask questions like: How would you feel?
• Would you like it done to you?
Step 3 – Explain the problem
The distress being suffered as a result of the bullying incident is explained. At this stage the details
of the incident or the allocation of the blame is not discussed. Explain the feelings of loneliness,
feeling left out, rejected, laughed at. Try asking questions:
• Would they like it if it happened to them?
• “Someone here in this group was bullied by someone within the group, what could we do to
see it does not happen again?”
• Listen, watch out for reactions, and pick up on any without isolating anyone.
Step 4 – Share the responsibility
Explain what steps/controls may have to be introduced to prevent further incidents and how
everyone will loose out as a result.
Step 5 – Ask the group for their ideas
At this stage the group is encouraged to suggest ways that would make the victim feel happier.
All positive responses are noted. Use phrases “if it were you” to encourage a response. Listen to
all suggestions and note them.
Step 6 – Leave it to them
Now the problem has been identified, solutions suggested, the problem is now handed over to
the group to solve. Arrange to meet again in a week‟s time. Pass responsibility over to the group
and give a time frame within which something must be done.
Step 7 – Meet them again
Each member of the group, including the bully should discuss how things are going, who is doing
what and if there has been any other incidents. This allows for continual monitoring and also
keeps all involved in the process. The idea of the ‘team’ looking after each other should be
enforced at regular intervals to ensure that it is know that bullying or intimidating behaviour will
not be tolerated within the club.