Research suggests that the key factors that will encourage children and young people to report incidents of bullying are that:
- They are consulted upon what will happen next
- The response is swift and is seen through to a resolution.
It is therefore crucial that procedures for responding to incidents are discussed, agreed and shared amongst the whole school community. All pupils must know that bullying is taken seriously, reports will have a guaranteed response and that they will be consulted upon actions taken.
When responding to any incident of bullying, the intended outcomes should include:
- Ensuring that the target is kept safe.
- Reassuring the target that it is not their fault, that they do not deserve this and it is not their responsibility to stop it .
- Asking the target who they want to be with them for support.
- Asking the target what they want/need to happen next.
- Ensuring that the behaviour of the perpetrator(s) is changed.
- Ensuring that people involved are supported in developing skills to resist a repeated situation.
- Ensuring that the perpetrator(s) are made aware of the impact of their behaviour.
- Using sanctions that provide perpetrators with the opportunity to learn new skills to change their behaviour.
Children and young people tend to be extremely reluctant to report bullying. Factors behind this include previous negative experiences of reporting where adults have failed to listen to, respect and address young people’s fears, concerns and experiences of bullying.