; Bullying - Youth Work Essentials

Bullying is never acceptable, but that does not mean that it doesn’t happen. Bullying is an abuse of power over another individual which may result in physical and/or emotional harm.

Youth workers have developed a number of ways to tackle bullying. All have the underlying aim of developing young people’s self-esteem and self-worth, through building confidence and skills to deal with conflict.

It’s a good idea for youth groups to establish a charter, code of practice, or ground rules that lay out the type of behaviour expected at the youth group.  This is most effective when young people, volunteers and workers come together to agree the content. 

What is included will vary between youth groups, but the following is normally included:

  • Respect each other
  • No bullying
  • No fighting
  • No name calling or swearing (at each other)
  • If you bully or are being bullied you can talk to any of the workers about it. They will listen to you and try to help you.
  • Everyone has a responsibility to stop others being hurt or upset by bullying. Tell a worker if you or someone you know is bullying or is being bullied.
  • Look after the equipment and the building.  If something gets broken or damaged, tell a leader.  
  • If you are going to leave the premises, tell a leader.
  • Listen to instructions
  • Get involved and give activities a go (but no one will be forced to do anything they don’t want to do)

Many youth groups have a copy of their code of practice / ground rules displayed, as a reminder to young people, workers and volunteers.  

It’s also important to ensure that young people know and understand the consequences of breaking the rules.

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