Child Protection Guidance 2021

Part 4: Specific support needs and concerns 194 National Guidance for Child Protection in Scotland 2021 Version 1.0 September 2021 Bullying 4.358 The paragraphs below should be read alongside sections of overlapping relevance in this part of the Guidance, including child protection in the digital environment, hate crime, and seriously harmful behaviours and harmful sexual behaviours by children. 4.359 Meaning. In Scotland there is no single legal definition of ‘bullying’. ‘Respect for All: National approach to anti-bullying’ provides the framework for anti-bullying work in Scotland and defines bullying as “ both behaviour and impact: the impact is on a person’s capacity to feel in control of themselves. Bullying takes place in the context of relationships; it is behaviour that can make people feel hurt, threatened, frightened and left out. This behaviour happens face-to-face and online. ” (Respect for All, 2017). Although the actual behaviour may not be repeated, the threat may be sustained over time, typically by actions, looks, messages, confrontations, physical interventions or the fear of these. 4.360 Bullying can occur between children and young people, and between adults and children. Online bullying should not be treated differently from face-to-face bullying. Bullying behaviour may be motivated by prejudice due to perceived or actual differences. This may lead to racism, sexism, homophobia, biphobia or transphobia, or prejudice and discrimination towards disability or faith (see section on hate crime) . 4.361 Online bullying (sometimes called ‘cyber-bullying’) is technology-assisted. It can involve the circulation or sharing of rumours, messages, gaming and images. Bullying can cause significant and sustained harm and requires agency policies and protocols that are holistic, preventative, proactive and supportive. Bullying of any kind must be addressed quickly whenever it arises. 4.362 ‘Peer-on-peer abuse’ may be used to refer to any form of physical, sexual, emotional and financial abuse, and coercive control, exercised between children and within children’s relationships (both intimate and non-intimate). The term ‘peer-on-peer’ can obscure significant age and power differences. Protective and preventative responses 4.363 An anti-bullying policy is a clear commitment to develop a respectful, equitable and inclusive culture and ethos within an organisation or establishment. Anti-bullying policies should be developed in partnership with children and young people, parents and carers, and staff, including volunteers. 4.364 Support should seek to prevent the ‘criminalising’ of children and young people wherever possible. However, adults and children and young people can seek appropriate advice from Police Scotland if they feel a crime may have taken place. 4.365 Consideration should be given to the context in which bullying has occurred. References to contextual safeguarding in Part 2B and below may be of relevance. There is a range of relationship-based approaches that can improve relationships and behaviour, promote equality and challenge inequality, and develop emotional wellbeing to help prevent and address bullying which includes restorative approaches, solution-oriented approaches, nurturing approaches, mentoring and peer support. 4.366 Education and social work services will consider triggering an IRD when there is a risk of significant harm to a child from bullying or peer-on-peer abuse. Referral to the Reporter will be considered when there is an apparent need for compulsory measures. When a crime is reported, the police will investigate, respond and consider the need for an inter-agency referral discussion under child protection procedures as defined in Part 3. Resources and References – Bullying