Many different groups and organisations have come up with their own definitions of bullying.
The Department of Education and Skills defines bullying as “unwanted negative behaviour, verbal, psychological or physical, conducted by an individual or group against another person (or persons) and which is repeated over time.”
The Health and Safety Authority defines bullying in the workplace as “repeated inappropriate behaviour, direct or indirect, whether verbal, physical or otherwise, conducted by one or more persons against another or others…which could reasonably be regarded as undermining the individual’s right to dignity at work”.
In order to help young people understand bullying, organisations such as Childline (UK) describe bullying behaviour rather than define it: “Bullying can mean many different things and young people have described it as:
- being called names
- being put down or humiliated
- being teased
- being pushed or pulled
- having money or other possessions taken or messed about with
- having rumours spread about you
- being ignored and left out
- being hit, kicked or physically hurt
- being threatened or intimidated.”
Whatever definition of bullying one prefers, they all have some key elements in common. There is an imbalance of power between the bully and the person being bullied. Bullying behaviour can take many different forms and the behaviour is repeated. Even though most groups use different words to define bullying, their meaning is largely the same. Each organisation is also in agreement on another very important point: BULLYING BEHAVIOUR CAN BE STOPPED.