Recent Ditch the Label research revealed that 69% of young people have witnessed somebody else being bullied, 43% of which see it at least once a week. With this in mind, we have compiled 7 things that you can do if you see someone being bullied. Here’s how you can be the one to help:
1. Ask if they are okay/if they need help
If it feels safe to do so, approach the person that is being bullied and ask them if they are okay or if they would like you to get help on their behalf. If it looks like the person is in danger, or at risk of serious harm, seek help immediately from a trusted adult, report it immediately to a teacher, or call the police on 999.
2. Do not join in or watch the bullying take place
Do not join in with the bullying that is taking place; think of the consequences of your words/actions and how they will negatively impact the person that is being attacked. Do not stand around and watch what is happening either; the attention may encourage the perpetrator to continue exhibiting such behaviour. Act swiftly, either seek help from a trusted adult or approach and focus your energy on the person that is being bullied (only if it feels safe to do so – see point 3 for reference).
3. Get the person that is being bullied away from the scenario
Instead of focusing your energy on the person that is doing the bullying, focus on getting the person that is being bullied away from the scenario and to a safe space. If it feels safe to do so, ask the person being bullied to come with you. Once you are away from the perpetrator, focus on keeping them calm and reassure them that everything will be alright. Make sure that that they know they are in no way to blame for what is happening to them and that they can depend on you for support. From there you can both decide what is the best course of action to take.
4. Remember to keep calm
Often reacting in an aggressive manner can make the situation worse and can even put you at risk of physical harm. If you feel it is a safe and appropriate action to take, maybe try talking calmly to the person who is doing the bullying. Remember to challenge the behaviour, not the person – so instead of accusing the person of being a ‘bully’, calmly explain why their actions or words are causing the other person distress. For example, instead of saying “you’re upsetting them”, you could say “what you are saying/doing is upsetting them”. It might be appropriate to suggest that a teacher or responsible adult hosts a mediation between the two of them. A mediation can feel scary for those involved but is often incredibly powerful; it is essentially a face-to-face conversation between the person who is being bullied and the person doing the bullying in a controlled, equal environment.
5. After the event, ask them how you can help them
It is important that you don’t patronise the person that is experiencing bullying; make sure that they feel like the power is in their hands and that you will be there to support them every step of the way. A good way of doing this is to ask them how you can help them, or what steps they want to take next.
6. Be a friend
Your friendship could make all the difference to them right now. Spend time with them, make sure they know they are not alone and try to do things that will boost their self-esteem and confidence. It’s important that they still look after their health and maintain a good diet, exercise regime and things like meditation and yoga. It is also important that you remember to look after yourself as well and don’t take too much on.
7. Link them to Ditch the Label
We are one of the largest anti-bullying charities and we are always here for those who have been impacted by bullying. If you or anyone you know needs help or a push in the right direction, please do not hesitate to get help in our Community here.
If you would prefer our easier to read version, please click here.