Who is at riskAdmin
Bullying can happen anywhere, but depending on the environment, some groups may be at an increased risk.
Learn what factors increase the risk of children being bullied or children more likely to bully others and what warning signs can indicate that bullying may be happening.
You can also find out how bullying can negatively impact kids.
Children at Risk of Being Bullied
Generally, children who are bullied have one or more of the following risk factors:
- Are perceived as different from their peers, such as being overweight or underweight, wearing glasses or different clothing, being new to a school, or being unable to afford what kids consider “cool”
- Are perceived as weak or unable to defend themselves
- Are depressed, anxious, or have low self esteem
- Are less popular than others and have few friends
- Do not get along well with others, seen as annoying or provoking, or antagonize others for attention
However, even if a child has these risk factors, it doesn’t mean that they will be bullied.
Children More Likely to Bully Others
There are two types of kids who are more likely to bully others:
- Some are well-connected to their peers, have social power, are overly concerned about their popularity, and like to dominate or be in charge of others.
- Others are more isolated from their peers and may be depressed or anxious, have low self esteem, be less involved in school, be easily pressured by peers, or not identify with the emotions or feelings of others.
Children who have these factors are also more likely to bully others;
- Are aggressive or easily frustrated
- Have less parental involvement or having issues at home
- Think badly of others
- Have difficulty following rules
- View violence in a positive way
- Have friends who bully others
Remember, those who bully others do not need to be stronger or bigger than those they bully. The power imbalance can come from a number of sources—popularity, strength, cognitive ability—and children who bully may have more than one of these characteristics.
Bullying in the workplace
Workplace bullying and harassment
Bullying and harassment is behaviour that makes someone feel intimidated or offended. Harassment is unlawful under the Equality Act 2010.
Examples of bullying or harassing behaviour include:
- spreading malicious rumours
- unfair treatment
- picking on someone
- regularly undermining a competent worker
- denying someone’s training or promotion opportunities
Bullying and harassment can happen:
- by letter
- by email
- by phone
Bullying itself isn’t against the law, but harassment is. This is when the unwanted behaviour is related to one of the following:
- gender (including gender reassignment)
- marriage and civil partnership
- pregnancy and maternity
- religion or belief
- sexual orientation
What employees should do if they’re bullied or harassed
Employees should see if they can sort out the problem informally first. If they can’t, they should talk to their:
- human resources (HR) department
- trade union representative
If this doesn’t work, they can make a formal complaint using their employer’s grievance procedure. If this doesn’t work and they’re still being harassed, they can take legal action at an employment tribunal.
They could also call the Acas (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) helpline for advice: