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3.11.3 Anti-Bullying Policy

ADDITIONAL GUIDANCE

For additional guidance, please refer to 'Safe from Bullying 2009' which is a suite of documents published by the government on the Department for Education website and includes guidance about countering bullying in children's homes.

Advice for parents and carers on cyberbullying

AMENDMENT

A hyperlink to the DfE Advice for parents and carers on cyberbullying was added to this chapter (above) in April 2015

Contents

  1. Statement of Principles
  2. What is Bullying?
  3. Why People Bully
  4. Action Plan
  5. What will Happen if Someone is Being Bullied?
  6. Work with the Person being Bullied
  7. Work with Children who Bully
  8. Staff who Bully Others
  9. Staff who are Bullied by a Child


1. Statement of Principles

1.1 Hillingdon Education and Children's Services recognises and affirms the right of all children and the adults involved in their care, to live and work in an environment free from bullying and harassment.
1.2 Hillingdon Education and Children's Services provides a culture of treating everyone with respect, regardless of their ethnicity, social group, gender, age, sexual orientation or disability.
1.3 Hillingdon Education and Children's Services will ensure that policies in place aimed at preventing bullying are implemented, and that any incident of bullying is addressed with sensitivity.
1.4 Hillingdon Education and Children's Services believes it is a fundamental right of every young person to live and learn in a safe, secure, and nurturing environment.
1.5 Hillingdon Education and Children's Services is sensitive to any signs of bullying and will ensure that all children and young people are listened to.
1.6 Hillingdon Education and Children's Services will try to help both the person who has been bullied and the person who is bullying.
1.7 Hillingdon Education and Children's Services will endeavour to ensure that, wherever possible, the child being bullied will be supported to remain in his/her current placement.
1.8 Hillingdon Education and Children's Services will ensure that children and their parents know what they should do, and to whom they can talk if they believe someone is being bullied.


2. What is Bullying?

2.1

Bullying means deliberately hurtful behaviour, repeated over a period of time, where it is difficult for those being bullied to defend themselves. The main types of bullying are:-

  • Physical (e.g. hitting, kicking, spitting);
  • Verbal (e.g. name calling, threatening, racist remarks);
  • Indirect (e.g. spreading rumours, excluding someone from the group, stealing from someone).
2.2

The effect of bullying behaviour can also be made worse by the contribution of the bystander/collusive behaviour. This can manifest itself by:-

  • A person choosing to ignore or deny that a bullying incident has occurred;
  • A person who has witnessed an incident supporting the bully;
  • A person who has witnessed an incident refusing to report it;
  • A person who has been informed that an incident has occurred not responding appropriately to the informant/information;
  • A person failing to report that a colleague has committed or has been accused of, or implicated in a bullying incident (see Section 8, Staff who Bully Others).

Bystander/collusive behaviour is negative, disrespectful, unprofessional and acts to endorse the behaviour of the person who is bullying, and thus encourages further incidents.

2.3

More examples of bullying are:-

  1. Being ignored or made to feel you are not good enough;
  2. Removal of belongings - bags, clothing, money, sweets, food, homework, photographs, treasured personal items;
  3. Teasing/ridicule - people laughing at your hair, clothes, or the way you look;
  4. Use of physical size to intimidate;
  5. Group pressure - crime, drugs, alcohol, smoking, shoplifting;
  6. Discrimination - ethnicity, culture, gender, sexuality, disability;
  7. Subtle bullying e.g. a look/expression;
  8. Taking advantage - "My sweets for your watch", "Always making the same person cups of tea", "Always allowing the same person to choose the TV programme." Agreeing to do something because of fear of repercussions;
  9. Using technology to bully e.g. text messages;
  10. Sexual abuse/prostitution/pimping.


3. Why People Bully

3.1

People bully for lots of different reasons. Some of these may be:-

  • They may be scared;
  • There are family problems;
  • They have seen others bully;
  • They are being bullied themselves;
  • They feel out of control;
  • They are being abused;
  • Bullying is seen as a way of surviving;
  • They feel insecure and unimportant;
  • To gain acceptance;
  • Issues related to prejudice/racism;
  • Not liking yourself/wanting others to feel as bad as you do;
  • To belong to a particular group or gang;
  • They are taking their feelings out on others;
  • They do not understand/appreciate the feelings of others;
  • They have no friends and feel lonely;
  • They always want their own way;
  • A way of seeking attention/help;
  • Not feeling respected or listened to.


4. Action Plan

4.1. All looked after children in residential care and children in foster carer(depending on their age and understanding) will be given a copy of this policy. Staff and foster carers will sign the policy to demonstrate they have read and understood the policy. 
4.2. Each children's home will monitor and review the policy on at least an annual basis. The review information will be included in the home's annual business plan review. The foster carer's supervising social worker will review the way in which the policy is implemented in the foster carer's supervision.
4.3. Risk assessments will be completed for vulnerable children, and for times, places and circumstances where there is a risk of bullying. This information and the resulting actions will be included in the child's Placement Plan and shared with staff/carers and the relevant children.
4.4. Incidents of bullying will be addressed immediately or as soon after the incident as possible.
4.5. Bullying will be discussed regularly with the child to encourage openness. The staff/carer will help all children to understand that it is OK to tell and that they will receive help and support if they do.
4.6. In children's homes, instances of bullying will be discussed with the staff team and in supervision to ensure a constructive and consistent response. Bullying will also form part of the discussions in residents' meetings.
4.7. Individual Placement Plans should include ways of working with a child if s/he is being bullied or is bullying.
4.8. Where bullying is felt to be a serious concern, relevant professional / family members will need to meet (see Section 5, What will Happen if Someone is Being Bullied?) to discuss a way forward.
4.9. Where the bullying is reported at school, the residential staff/carers and the child's social worker will work closely with the school and the child's family, to work towards a resolution of the issue.
4.10. All incidents and responses will be clearly recorded on a serious incident form, and monitored by the residential manager/supervising social worker for the foster carer.
4.11. Staff/carers will always intervene to prevent/point out bullying behaviour, and assist the child to develop alternative ways of behaving.
4.12. Staff/carers will provide advice and support for children to develop strategies in coping with situations where they may be bullied.
4.13. Only in the interests of safety would a child being bullied be moved to a new placement. In the most serious incidents, where a child has been seriously physically injured, or suffered emotional trauma, because of a one off incident or a pattern of incidents, the bully may be moved from the home either temporarily or on a permanent basis in agreement with the residential manager/supervising social worker and the child's social worker.
4.14. Training will be provided for all members of staff/foster carers on the awareness of, and effective strategies to counter bullying.
4.15. Where appropriate the advice and support of appropriate child health services will be sought.


5. What will Happen if Someone is Being Bullied?

5.1

Stage 1

If staff/carers feel that a child is being bullied, they should talk to the child about how s/he is feeling and what the staff/carer can do to assist (e.g. do they want the staff/carer to talk to the person bullying and try and get them to stop), or what else the child would like the staff/carer to do to assist (e.g. in a children's home, to raise bullying in a residents' meeting).

The staff/carer will monitor the situation following a discussion in a team meeting/with their supervising social worker. Ongoing monitoring will be recorded in daily sheets and this information will be used to assess if the situation has improved or not. The child's social worker will be informed and a decision made as to who will inform the child's parents.

5.2

Stage 2

If the situation has not improved, a formal meeting will be held with the child/ren concerned and any other child in the placement involved. For children in foster care, this will involve the child's social worker and the foster carer; for children in residential care, this will involve the child's Link Worker and a residential manager. The aim of this meeting will be to bring the bullying to an end, and to offer appropriate support and advice to all those involved.

The Link Worker/carer's contact with the child or children involved will focus on anti-bullying strategies. The situation will be monitored as in stage 1, and liaison with the child's social worker and parents will continue as agreed as part of the strategy. The stage 2 meeting will take place no longer than 3 weeks following the stage 1 meeting.

5.3 

Stage 3

If the situation has not improved, a formal meeting will be convened with the children concerned, their link workers/foster carers, a manager of the relevant home/the supervising social worker, the children's social workers and family members where appropriate.

At this stage the safety of the child/children being bullied will be of paramount concern, and a plan will be developed to minimise the risk to him or her.

It is important for children to understand, that, if there are a number of incidents, or an incident of great seriousness, a meeting may be called at Stage 3 without first going through Stages 1 and 2.

The situation will be monitored as in Stage 1 and 2 and a meeting will be convened to review the situation no later than 3 weeks following the Stage 3 meeting.


6. Work with the Person being Bullied

6.1. Staff/carers will offer their support to the child being bullied by being sensitive in listening to their feelings on what is happening.
6.2. An opportunity will be given to the child to talk to someone from outside the home if they would prefer.
6.3. Staff/carers need to inform the child what action they intend to take.
6.4.

Staff/carers could:-

  • Advise on possible responses the child could give (e.g. responding with insults does not tend to work, not to argue, reply to taunts with something short like "that's what you think" and walk away, practising situation/ role play).
  • Teach assertiveness techniques (e.g. helping the child think about what they want to say and the best way to get the message across, discussing responses if a child feels under pressure to do something they do not want to do, coping with anger/distress).
  • Work on self-esteem (i.e. helping a child develop skills/interest/helping them talk positively about themselves).
  • Help the child to think how the person who is bullying might be feeling to try and stop it becoming personal.
  • Talk openly when they see bullying behaviour.
  • Where appropriate, encourage positive contact between the child being bullied and the child bullying. However, this strategy will require careful monitoring.


7. Work with Children who Bully

7.1. All forms of bullying should be challenged immediately. If you suspect someone is bullying this needs to be discussed openly.
7.2. The child should be encouraged to apologise to the child who has been bullied, and helped to think about ways of making things better.
7.3. It is important to try and work out with the child why they are bullying. If it is possible to address the reason this may in itself help. Issues of prejudice/racism may be particularly relevant.
7.4. Help the child think about what it feels like to be bullied, maybe recalling incidents from their own experiences.
7.5. Help the child to think about alternative responses in any given situation/other ways of behaving where the child does not feel like they are losing face. Sometimes a child may only bully when in a certain setting or when with particular children.
7.6. Talk about anger management techniques.
7.7. In more extreme circumstances, outside agencies (e.g. LAC project/Behavioural Support Team/CAMHS) may need to be involved.


8. Staff who Bully Others

8.1. Where an incident occurs of a member of staff bullying a child or an adult this will be treated extremely seriously. Bullying could include any of the categories mentioned above.
8.2. If a member of staff observes another worker bullying, or a child talks about such an incident it should be reported immediately to the residential home's manager, or the carer's supervising social worker.
8.3 Staff/carers have a duty to report such incidents. A written account should be made of the incident, and the child informed of the action the staff/carer must take - see Whistle Blowing Procedure.
8.4. The Managing Allegations Against Staff Procedure will be followed - see the London Child Protection Procedures - and the matter will be treated as an Incident - see Incidents Guidance.


9. Staff who are Bullied by a Child

9.1. If a member of staff is feeling bullied by a child, the relevant residential manager will look at strategies to support them.
9.2. Strategies to support a member of residential staff may include:-
  1. More members of staff on shift to offer support;
  2. A professionals meeting to look at the best way of dealing with the incident;
  3. Support from the management team, and counselling;
  4. A risk assessment with a clear action plan.

If the staff member feels bullied by another member of staff the principles outlined in the Corporate Personnel Bullying at Work Policy and Procedure would apply.

End