The Boys' Brigade and Girls' Association
In the Republic of Ireland




Anti-Bullying Policy




The Boys' Brigade and Girls' Association in the Republic of Ireland (The BB) is committed to providing a caring, supportive and friendly environment where children learn to value and respect each other and are challenged to reach their full potential through active participation. The BB will not tolerate bullying by anyone in any of its activities.


What is bullying?

Bullying can be defined as repeated aggression - whether it is verbal, psychological or physical - that is conducted by an individual or group against others. It is behaviour that is intentionally aggravating and intimidating, and occurs mainly amount children in social environments such as schools. It includes behaviours such as physical aggression, cyber bullying, damage to property, intimidation, isolation/exclusion, name calling, malicious gossip and extortion. Bullying can also take the form of abuse based on gender identity, sexual preference, race, ethnicity and religious factors. With developments in modern technology, children can also be the victims of non-contact bullying, via mobile phones, the internet and other personal devices (See section below on Cyberbullying).

It is recognised that bullying affects the lives of an increasing number of children and can be the cause of genuine concerns about a child's welfare.

While bullying can happen to any child, some may be more vulnerable. These include: children with disability or special educational needs; those from ethnic minority and migrant groups; from the Traveller community; lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) children and those perceived to be LGBT; and children of minority religious faiths.

There can be an increased vulnerability to bullying among children with special educational needs. This is particularly so among those who do not understand social cues and/or have difficulty communicating. Some children with complex needs may lack understanding of social situations and therefore trust everyone implicitly. Such children may be more vulnerable because they do not have the same social skills or capacity as others to recognise and defend themselves against bullying behaviour.


Preventative Strategies

Leaders should promote a positive anti-bullying ethos in their activities, raise awareness amongst leaders and children that bullying will not be tolerated and that anyone who witnesses an incident of bullying has a responsibility to report it. By emphasising the Code of Behaviour, leaders should create an environment in which children are valued as individuals and are encouraged and affirmed.


What can a leader do if a child tells them they are being bullied?


Responding to incidents of bullying

There are a number of approaches which can be used and the leaders should determine which action to take depending on the incident of bullying.

1. The Code of Behaviour sets out the guidelines for children regarding boundaries and appropriate behaviour. Draw everyone's attention back to the Code of Behaviour and the consequences of not abiding by the Code.

2. The 'no blame' approach does not concentrate on who did what to whom but instead, focusing on the feelings of the target and what the group involved in the bullying and the target can do to make this situation better. The 'no blame' approach allows the group involved in the bullying behaviour to think about the action that has taken place and the effect it has had on the target. It promotes the perpetrator and the rest of the group involved in the bullying behaviour with an opportunity to redeem themselves.

3. Time Out - by providing some space and time between the perpetrator and target and allowing both parties involved to think about the incident that has taken place, time apart may aid the process of resolving the bullying e.g. removal of the perpetrator away from the target to another group.

4. Denial of privileges - loss of certain privileges by the perpetrator in the group. It is hoped that by using this response the perpetrator may realise the impact of their actions on the target and the consequences for themselves.

5. Parental/Guardian involvement - make parents/guardians of all children involved aware of the incident of bullying and ask them to intervene in the situation.

6. Suspension or expulsion of the perpetrator may be used as a last resort in bullying where no other interventions have worked.


Cyberbullying

Cyberbullying differs from more traditional forms of bullying in a number of ways:



What are the signs/symptoms that someone is being cyberbullied?
Some signs or symptoms that may present when a child is experiencing cyberbullying include:

   o Keep a copy of all correspondence between the child and the bully.
   o Encourage the child to remove the cyberbully as a 'friend' online and block them from his/her phone.
   o Report the issue to the website and/or mobile phone company as appropriate.
   o Serious issues should be reported to An Garda Siochana - legal issues include making inappropriate sexual suggestions, racist remarks or persistent bullying that is seriously damaging to the child's wellbeing. In such situations the leader should report their concerns to the Regional Safeguarding Panel who can assist them to inform parents of the correct steps to take in informing the Gardai.



Anti Bullying Policy PDF