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Top tips for parents and carers who are concerned about bullying

Research published today (14 August) by Action for Children Scotland, has highlighted that school bullying is one of the biggest concerns for parents as their children return to school.

Responding to the research findings, Katie Rafferty, Director of respectme Scotland’s Anti-Bullying Service, said:

“The start of the new school year can be a stressful time for children, young people and parents alike. Bullying behaviour can leave parents feeling anxious, out of their depth, and unsure of what to do or where to turn to help their child.

“There isn’t one, single solution to addressing bullying but adults can make a huge difference in children’s lives by helping them regain their voice and choose for themselves how they want to respond to bullying behaviour.

“respectme has a range of resources available for children and young people and parents and carers, which provide practical advice and guidance for dealing with bullying behaviour.”

For parents and carers who are trying to support a child who is being bullied, here are some top tips to bear in mind:

Don’t Panic! Remaining calm supports good listening and is reassuring for your child.

Give your full attention. This is reassuring and shows you are taking them seriously. Explain the reasons for your concern. Feeding back sensitively what you have noticed can help your child to see more clearly how bullying is impacting on them.

Talk to them about where they go online. Establish a clear understanding of the sites they use and how they access them.

What do they want you to do? Exploring this will make your child feel valued and will help you to understand what support they need.

Keep Listening! If they are reluctant to talk straight away, remind them that you are always available to listen and they can talk to you at any time. And remember that the impacts of bullying can last, even when the behaviour has stopped.

Statement

Today - Thursday 7 July the Equalities and Human Rights Committee made recommendations to the Scottish Government, following its inquiry into Bullying and Harassment of children and young people in Scottish Schools. The report can be accessed here

Our statement in response to the Committee's recommendations can be viewed below:

Director of respectme, Katie Rafferty said:

“Bullying in all its forms is unacceptable. No child should be made to feel threatened or anxious by bullying behaviour – an experience that can have far-reaching and long- lasting consequences on their lives.

The Equalities and Human Right’s Committee’s Inquiry into bullying and harassment has raised very concerning issues and we welcome their work. The Inquiry thorough and consultative and we welcome its recommendations.

Early intervention is essential to teaching children and young people the values of respect, inclusion and fairness, and to equip them with the practical skills to develop mutually healthy and respectful relationships.

And this includes creating environments from the earliest possible stage, where diversity is celebrated and valued. Where racist, homophobic, gender-based and all other forms of prejudice-based bullying are effectively challenged, and where all schools and youth settings explicitly commit to challenging prejudice-based bullying. Our 2014 research showed that the most successful anti-bullying initiatives are embedded within a positive ethos and culture and don’t just focus on individual incidents.

While schools and other organisations who work with children have a role to play, we shouldn’t forget that parents and carers play a vital role for both children who bully and those being bullied. Work to address bullying needs to take into account the strong influence parents and carers have on children’s lives and harness this to establish positive environments, and mirror those being developed in schools and other settings.

We agree with the Committee that recording bullying incidents will help us build a better picture of where and how children and young people experience bullying in Scotland and identify trends in bullying behaviour. However, data shouldn’t be used to rank organisations or make decisions about how well they are addressing bullying. We need to remember that recording and monitoring data in itself does not change behaviour. Rather, it should be used to inform the preventative measures and interventions that can.

While it’s clear that there is still much to be done around anti-bullying in Scotland, it’s important to recognise the good work that is being carried out within schools and local authorities. respectme will continue to work with schools and other organisations who work with young people to deliver training and resources, to give adults the practical skills and confidence to deal with bullying behaviour.

We look forward to the publication of Respect for All , which is crucial to ensuring that children and young people across Scotland receive appropriate and consistent responses to bullying behaviour.”

 
 
New Director
We are delighted to welcome our new Director, Katie Rafferty to the team! Katie joins respectme at an exciting time as the service enters its tenth year of delivery and when Scottish Government is refreshing its national approach to anti-bullying for Scotland’s children and young people. Most recently Katie worked in the children’s sector as Policy and Campaigns Manager for the National Deaf Children’s Society in Scotland, a UK wide organisation supporting deaf children and their families. With a great interest in issues facing young people, her previous roles include working with the National Union of Students in Scotland and Childline.

Reports


respectme Director, Katie Rafferty reflects on the anti-bullying service’s accomplishments to date and considers what still needs to be done to address bullying in Scotland. Read more here

The 5Rights Youth Commission recently published their report on how young people can enjoy their rights in the digital world. Read their report here.

The Children's Parliament recently launched the findings of its investigation in to bullying , which included '10 Learning Points for Adults'. We were invited to contribute a guest blog, which outlines how our approach mirrors each of these 10 points. Read 'Children's Voices at the Heart of Practice'.