We know how awful bullying can be and how hard it can be to talk about it. We also know that there are things you can do to make it stop.

The first thing to know is that it is always the right thing to do to ask for help or support if you feel you can’t deal with the situation yourself. 96% of students said they agreed that ‘It is always okay to ask for help if you can’t deal with a situation yourself’.

What should I do while the bullying is happening?
When the bullying is happening and you feel you can’t do anything to stop it, follow these steps:

  • Stay calm and try not to act upset or angry. This is probably what the person bullying wants you to do.
  • Don’t fight back. If you fight back you could make the situation worse, get hurt, or be blamed for starting the trouble.
  • Calmly remove yourself from the situation. Try to ignore the bullying by turning and walking away calmly.
  • If they try to stop or block you, be firm and clear – look them in the eye and tell them to stop.
  • Get away from the situation as quickly as possible.
  • Tell an adult what has happened straight away.

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What can I do to cope with ongoing bullying?
Bullying is scary and upsetting. It can sometimes make you feel as if it’s your fault. It’s not! The best thing you can do is talk to an adult you trust (like your teacher or your parent) and keep talking to them even if you think the bullying has stopped. At times when a trusted adult is not available, however, there are some things you can do to deal with the situation:

  • Tell a friend what is happening. Ask him or her to help you. It will be harder for the students bullying to pick on you if you have a friend with you for support.
  • Try to ignore the bullying or say ‘No’ really firmly, then turn and walk away. Don’t worry if people think you are running away. Remember, it is very hard for the bullying to go on when the person being bullied won’t stand still to listen.
  • Try not to show that you are upset or angry. Students who bully love to get a reaction, they think it’s ‘fun’. If you can keep calm and hide your emotions, they might get bored and leave you alone. As one teenager said to us, ‘they can’t bully you if you don’t care’.
  • Don’t fight back if you can help it. Most students who bully are bigger or stronger than you. If you fight back you could make the situation worse, get hurt or be blamed for starting the trouble.
  • It’s not worth getting hurt to keep possessions or money. If you feel threatened, give the students who bully what they want. Property can be replaced, you can’t.
  • Try to think up funny or clever replies in advance. Make a joke of it. Replies don’t have to be wonderfully brilliant or clever but it helps to have an answer ready. Using prepared replies works best if the student bullying is not too threatening and just needs to be put off. The person bullying might just decide that you are too clever to pick on.
  • Try to avoid being alone in the places where you know the person bullying is likely to pick on you. This might mean changing your route to school, avoiding parts of the playground, or only using common rooms when other people are there. It’s not fair that you have to do this, but it might discourage the student from bullying.
  • If you have to walk home and you’re afraid of being ambushed, try taking different routes, try to leave home and school a bit later or a bit earlier, or see if you can walk with other people who live near you even if they’re older or younger.
  • Sometimes asking the bully to repeat what they said can put them off. Often students who bully are not brave enough to repeat the remark exactly so they tone it down. If they repeat it, you will have made them do something they hadn’t planned on and this gives you some control of the situation.
  • Keep a diary of what is happening. Write down details of the incidents and your feelings. When you do decide to tell someone, a written record of the bullying makes it easier to talk about what has been going on.

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Is it okay to tell someone if I’m being bullied?
Yes, absolutely. Asking for help is always okay. Remember, telling someone that you are being bullied is NOT telling tales or dobbing.

  • ‘Dobbing’ is when a person tries to get attention or to get someone else into trouble.
  • ‘Asking for help’ is when someone feels the situation is out of his or her control and he or she is unable to deal with it alone. If anyone sees someone else in this situation he or she should also ask for help.

By telling someone, you are helping protect others as well as yourself.

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Who can I talk to if I am being bullied?
Don’t let the bullying go on. The school cannot do anything about the bullying if they don’t know about it. We understand that you might be scared but sharing the problem gives you someone to talk to and someone to help you to sort it out.

  • Talk to your school support person.
  • Talk to another teacher or a staff member you feel comfortable with. Take a friend with you if you are a bit nervous about talking to a teacher.
  • Tell your parents or another adult you trust. Sometimes kids feel ashamed or stupid telling adults about bullying. Don’t be. Usually your parents are the best people to tell because they will help you work out the best way to get the bullying to stop.
  • Talk to a friend or another student you trust. Ask for advice or just talk to them about how you feel.
  • If your school has an online portal, you can use it to directly access student support services. This is a great way to talk about your problem and get help straight away.

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What should I do if I am being bullied through social media?

  • Make a note of exactly when the message was sent and save it. Take a screenshot if necessary.
  • Tell a parent or teacher straight away.
  • Be careful about who you give your mobile phone number, email address or social networking contact details to.

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How do I deal with hurtful teasing?
Teasing, name-calling and spreading nasty rumours are the most common forms of bullying in schools. A person is teasing when they provoke (stir up) someone, either in a playful or an unkind way. Sometimes people tease in a fun way and they don’t hurt anyone’s feelings. Other times people tease in a mean way that upsets or hurts the feelings of the other person, and we call this bullying.

Here are some tips for taking the sting out of teasing:

  • Be cool. Stand up straight, speak clearly and look confident even if you aren’t. Make the person teasing think they are not bothering you and they are wasting their time trying to tease you.
  • Stay calm and nice. Be in control and don’t get nasty. If you are nasty to them you will be doing what they are doing and this will only make matters worse. By being nice, you are not responding the way they want you to and this may make them think twice about saying anything back.
  • Speak and move on. Keep your words brief. Say your piece then walk away. The person teasing you will want to have the last word. Don’t allow this. Move away and ignore any other comments.
  • Know when to walk away. If you find you are getting upset or scared then it is better to say nothing and simply walk away when someone teases you. This way the person will not see any reaction from you and you can get help from someone in your support group.

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