Who is likely to be involved?



Any pupil, through no fault of their own, may be bullied. Sometimes all it takes is for the child to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Therefore, it is not uncommon to find that there are many children victimised through bullying, who are popular and socially well adjusted.  However, bullies will try to justify their actions by emphasising that the victim is different in some way, i.e. in terms of accent, clothes, physical appearance, size, social class, religion, ethnic origin, or by having learning difficulties. If there is no real difference pupils who bully may invent a reason for their behaviour.

Children who Bully are encouraged by the vulnerable and distressed reactions of their would-be victims. This gives them a “sense of power” and of “being in control”. Children who behave in a hyper-sensitive, cautious, anxious, passive or submissive manner and are not particularly determined, forceful or decisive are more likely to be targeted than the general run of children. However, those who react to an attack in a vulnerable and distressed manner tend to be subjected to repeated aggression. Thus what distinguishes the children who are not victimised from those who are, is not their physical strength, but that they can either challenge or “distance themselves” from the Bully’s intimidating influence.

It is now recognised that many of the negative and unsympathetic characteristics that are often ascribed to victims may be the result of long-term bullying rather than a cause of Bullying. There are, of course, some children who unwittingly invite attacks by behaving in ways that cause tension and irritation in their immediate vicinity.  Such children, often referred to as “provocative victims”, may have inadequate social skills or learning difficulties.

Sadly however, research shows that no matter what the true origin of the bullying episode is, children who are bullied tend to see the cause of bullying in themselves and feel or imagine that there is something “wrong” with them.