This year during Anti-Bullying week from 16-20th November, the anti-bullying alliance will be raising awareness in their anti-bullying campaign ‘United against bullying’, and Monday kicks it off by wearing odd socks for Odd Socks Day!
Anti-Bullying week is primarily aimed at children and young people so why are we talking about it here?
A long way from the playground
We may find ourselves a long way from the playground, but the fact is bullying can happen to anyone at any age. This title may have already triggered memories, a current situation or events that are happening to others such as our children and grandchildren or even to you in your workplace.
So, what is bullying?
The Anti-Bullying Alliance say ‘the repetitive, intentional hurting of one person or group by another person or group, where the relationship involves an imbalance of power. It can happen face to face or online.’
The National Bullying Helpline add the hurt can be either ‘physical or emotional’.
What is bullying behaviour?
Bullying behaviour needs to be seen against the backdrop of bullying (above), it can be wide ranging and include;
- Spreading rumours
- Calling someone names
- Belittling them
- Undermining a person
- Threatening or aggressive behaviour
- Manipulating or coercing a person
- Isolating a person
This can be in person, online or by text/calls/email
Are we exempt?
Our services are not exempt from bullying, and taking a moment now, you may have witnessed this happening, or it may be happening to you.
What can we do about it?
Don’t be a bystander
Firstly, don’t be a bystander, report it and appropriately defend the person. Bystanders are actually part of the bullying situation, and if you aren’t preventing it, you are letting it happen.
Be clear about zero tolerance to bullying
Whether it be staff, management or people using the service, be clear in your policies the steps that will be taken if behaviour is bullying and/or harassing and how people can report it.
An open door
Having an open door policy and giving people time to talk may uncover problems they are having with bullying. You can help directly as well as signposting to the national helpline.
In some instances, behaviour may include safeguarding and criminal offences, and these situations should direct you to your safeguarding policy and the relevant agencies.
Be kind and united
Just like the Disney film ‘Bugs Life’ (I never thought I’d say that in a health and social care blog!) when we come together united against something, it ensures people think twice before they take advantage, they are no longer looking at a vulnerable person, but at an army of people united together.
Make sure celebrating difference is part of your ethos, and that kindness is recognised and celebrated.
Remember that however annoying, quirky, or grumpy a person is, people do not deserve to be bullied and should be treated with dignity and respect. They are not the problem, the bullying behaviour is.
So, join me and thousands of others to celebrate anti-bullying week, the Anti-Bullying Alliance would love to see organisations join in, and besides… all I have are odd socks!