One in Four Children Bullied in School Last Year

This information was provided by the Anti-Bullying Alliance.

This year’s Anti-Bullying Week theme was ‘Stop and think: words can hurt’ and the Anti-Bullying Alliance called on everybody to challenge casual name-calling and the use of derogatory words. According to their figures, based on a survey involving 845 children, one in four children have been verbally bullied in the past year.
The research was released to mark the start of the Anti-Bullying Week campaign which begins on 14 November and highlighted the worrying trend of verbal bullying and the casual use of derogatory language – a widespread

phenomenon not just amongst school children, but in society as a whole.
The results show that around a quarter (26%) of 11-16 year olds had directly experienced verbal bullying, with the vast majority (79%) happening at school. Almost 40% of respondents also reported being bullied online or by mobile phone.
81% of secondary school pupils think verbal bullying is a problem in their school and two thirds (66%) say they have witnessed some form of verbal bullying in the past year. More than 1 in 8 (14%) of 11-16 year olds have considered missing school for fear of being verbally bullied.

The results also show that 54% of respondents would turn to a teacher for help and advice, highlighting the important role of teachers and schools in tackling bullying behavior.

Ross Hendry, Chair of the National Children’s Bureau’s Anti-Bullying Alliance, said, “These figures highlight how much of a problem verbal bullying is. Sometimes there is a tendency to see verbal bullying as being less serious than physical bullying. But the emotional and psychological impact can be just as damaging and may affect young people’s self-esteem and confidence to the point where they don’t want to go to school.

“The figures also show that most verbal bullying takes place in schools. It’s imperative that the school community – teachers, carers, parents and pupils work together to build and maintain an ethos of respectful behaviour so that children and young people are kept safe from all forms of bullying. Casual name calling and the use derogatory language – so common in our schools and in society more generally – can lead to verbal bullying being seen as acceptable.”

The Anti Bullying Alliance brings together over 130 organisations from the voluntary, public and private sectors, who are committed to tackling bullying work together to reduce bullying and create safer environments in which children and young people can live, grow, play and learn. ABA is based at the National Children’s Bureau. For more information visit

The Anti-Bullying Alliance offers the following advice.

For children and young people

  • Bullying is not your fault. It is always wrong and you do not have to put up with it.
  • Let someone know what is happening as soon as possible. Talk things through with a friend, your family, or your teachers.
  • Do not do or say anything in response to the bully. Stay calm and remove yourself from the situation wherever possible. If it is happening through your phone or the internet, keep a copy of the messages or images but do not reply or respond.
  • Keep a note or a diary of what is happening.
  • Be confident – you have done nothing to deserve this.
  • Be assertive.
  • You could say, “This is not funny. This is bullying. This is wrong.”
  • Think who can help you – young people or adults.
  • Seek help from other young people e.g. school might have a peer mentor or buddy scheme.
  • Say to someone, “Please would you watch what is happening here” and ask them to help you report the incident.
  • Sometimes it can help to talk to someone outside of the situation. You could call Childline on 0800 11 11

For Parents

  • If you think your child is being bullied, don’t panic– try to keep an open mind. Your key role is listening, calming and providing reassurance that the situation can get better when action is taken. Provide a quiet, calm place where they can talk about what is happening.

  • Listen and reassure them that coming to you was the right thing to do. It may not be easy for a child to talk about being bullied so it is important to try to find out how they are feeling, what has happened, when and where. Though at this stage it is not so much about establishing a set of facts as encouraging, talking and listening.
  • Assure them that the bullying is not their fault and that you are there to support them. Remind them that they can also have the support of family and friends.

  • Find out what the child or young person wants to happen. Help them to identify the choices available to them and the potential next steps to take; and the skills they may have to help solve the problems.
  • Discuss the situation with your child’s school. The law requires all schools to have a behaviour policy which sets out the measures that will be taken to encourage good behaviour and respect for others and to prevent all forms of bullying among pupils.
  • Parents can get advice and support from the Family Lives Parentline on 0808 800 2222 or at

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