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Celebrating our 140th Anniversary

The Boys’ Brigade is committed to providing a safe environment for our young people. This policy ensures that in all of its activities, The Boys’ Brigade will seek to:

  • prevent bullying from happening between our children and young people members (and any other children and young people that participate in our activities) by creating a positive, caring and respectful space for all.
  • make sure bullying is stopped as soon as possible and if it does happen, those involved receive the support they need.
  • provide information to all staff, volunteers, children, and their families about what we should all to do prevent bullying, and how to deal with it, when it occurs.
  • manage any complaints of bullying fairly, sensitively and in a way that is effective.

Bullying and harassment is unacceptable.

This policy applies to anyone working on behalf of The Boys’ Brigade, including Trustees, staff and volunteers, young leaders, and our young people members.

What is Bullying?

Bullying is behaviour that deliberately causes hurt. It is often based on an imbalance of power, or perceived imbalance between the bully and the person being bullied. Normally it is repetitive behaviour, that is ongoing but it can also be something that is “one off”. Bullying can happen to anyone. Bullying can have a long-lasting impact on the physical and emotional wellbeing of the person being bullied. Ordinarily bullying isn’t what happens when friends have a fall out, or argument, but sometimes this can develop into bullying.

Bullying can involve one or more of the following behaviours:

Verbal Bullying

Name calling, hurtful mocking/teasing, saying nasty, humiliating or threatening things to or about a young person, or their family.

Physical Bullying

Hitting, kicking, shoving a young person, spitting on them or other types of physical assault. Stealing or damaging property belonging to them.

Emotional Bullying

Making threats towards a young person, or their family. Intimidating, or undermining a young person. Excluding them from a friendship group or activities. Spreading rumours about them to damage friendships and reputations.

Cyberbullying/Online Bullying

  • Excluding a child from online games, activities, or friendship groups.
  • Sending threatening, upsetting or abusive messages.
  • Creating and sharing embarrassing or malicious images/videos.
  • Trolling – sending menacing or upsetting messages on social media.
  • Voting for or against someone in an abusive poll.
  • Setting up hate sites/groups about a particular child.
  • Creating fake accounts, hijacking, or stealing online identities to embarrass a young person, or cause trouble using their name.

Who’s at risk?

Any child can be bullied for any reason. If a child is seen as different in some way, or seen as an easy target, they can be more at risk.

This might be because of their race, religion or belief, sex, gender identity, sexuality or because of a disability or additional support needs. A young person may also be targeted because they appear shy, lack assertiveness, appear anxious, because of their family circumstances, their size, appearance or because they are different in some other way.

The impact of young people involved in bullying

The impact to the bullied young person can include sadness, depression, and anxiety; low self-esteem; social isolation and self-harm; wariness of others; difficulties making friendships; and changes in performance at school or other areas of their life. The impact of bullying can be long lasting.

It is also important to have an understanding about why children bully, as the bully may need support to change. There are many reasons why a young person bullies another, some of which incudes:

  • peer pressure/wanting the approval of others.
  • being bullied themselves or coerced by others.
  • being worried, unhappy, or upset about something.
  • wanting to feel powerful over someone with a perceived disadvantage.
  • lacking social skills or not understanding how others feel.

Recognising bullying and cyberbullying

Signs and Indicators

Adults may notice that a young person isn’t spending time with their usual group of friends, or that they have become isolated. Adults may also notice a change in the behaviour of other young people towards a particular young person. Other signs that a young person could be experiencing bullying or cyberbullying are:

  • being reluctant to go to school/BB.
  • being distressed or anxious.
  • losing confidence and becoming withdrawn.
  • having problems sleeping or eating.
  • having unexplained injuries.
  • changes in appearance.
  • changes in performance and/or behaviour at school, or BB sessions.


Responding to incidents of bullying and cyberbullying

It is important that volunteer leaders, and staff:

  • listen to all the young people involved to establish what has happened, even if the bullying is unconnected with the BB setting. It can be useful to ask the young person to write down what has happened.
  • record details of the incident and any actions you’ve taken.
  • inform other leaders promptly.
  • inform parents and carers (unless doing so would put a young person at further risk of harm).
  • provide support to the young person/people being bullied, young person/people who witnessed the bullying and the young person/people who has been accused of bullying.
  • ask the young person/people who have been bullied what they would like to happen next.
  • consider appropriate sanctions for young people that have carried out bullying.
  • continue to monitor the situation even if the situation has been resolved.
  • where the bullying has been reported to BB leaders but has taken place in another setting such as a school, or other youth setting, it is important to consider sharing information with the relevant setting (contact BBHQ Safeguarding for advice as necessary).

It is expected that leaders are the most suitable people to address any incidents of bullying that takes place within or linked to their BB Company. If the circumstances become difficult to manage, or escalate after initial intervention, consideration should be given to reporting the circumstances as a Safeguarding concern to BBHQ Safeguarding.

Preventing Bullying

The most effective way to reduce and prevent bullying is to acknowledge that it happens, and create a safe talking culture within all BB activities where any hurtful or unkind behaviour is quickly brought out into the open, and dealt with. Further strategies to prevent and address bullying include:

  • Have clear behaviour expectations for children and young people. Involve them in creating their own “code of good behaviour”.
  • Frequently remind young people of expected behaviour, particularly where there are unstructured times such as at residentials, and when Companies join together for activities.
  • Encourage young people and their parents to speak out and report any bullying concerns to leaders.
  • Always challenge offensive or discriminatory language in BB activities.
  • Ensure parents/carers and young people are aware of sanctions if bullying occurs. This could include exclusion from a particular activity or from the Company for a set period of time. Permanent exclusion may also be considered.
  • Regularly talk to young people in Company to find out how it feels to be in your Company.
  • Ask young people in your Company – is there anything we can do to stop or prevent bullying?
  • Use programme resources that deal with bullying, kindness, fairness, respect, and inclusion.
  • Promote the BB Anti-Bullying Policy and make it clear that bullying will be responded to.

Create a caring, kind and respectful environment, together.

Guidance for parents/carers, leaders and young people

The sources of information and support were all verified in April 2024. Please inform BB Headquarters of any updates/amends you become aware of.

This Policy was approved by Trustees on 29/06/2024. Review date 29/06/2027 or earlier if need arises.