How to help keep kids safe

Ruislip & Eastcote & Northwood Gazette - - Your Say -

FOL­LOW­ING the re­cent spate of news cov­er­age about bul­ly­ing in schools, par­ents, car­ers and grand­par­ents may be keen to know more about what they can do to keep their child safe.

Here is some ad­vice on ac­tion you can take if you are wor­ried about bul­ly­ing:

Talk to your child about bul­ly­ing: bul­ly­ing is any be­hav­iour that is re­peated, in­tended to hurt and where it is hard for the per­son on the re­ceiv­ing end to de­fend them­selves. It can hap­pen face to face or on­line. Chil­dren can be bul­lied, bully oth­ers, or be wit­ness to bul­ly­ing be­hav­iour. Me­dia sto­ries can be a good way of rais­ing the sub­ject with your child in a way that feels more re­laxed.

Know your rights: All schools have a le­gal duty to keep chil­dren safe and to prevent bul­ly­ing and ha­rass­ment. Most schools will have a stand alone anti-bul­ly­ing pol­icy, or will ref­er­ence bul­ly­ing in the be­hav­iour pol­icy. By law they must pro­vide you with a copy.

Take bul­ly­ing se­ri­ously. Bul­ly­ing is a child pro­tec­tion is­sue and the im­pact of bul­ly­ing on phys­i­cal and men­tal health can be long last­ing. Some bul­ly­ing be­hav­iour such as phys­i­cal or sex­ual as­sault, ha­rass­ment and threats to harm may even be crim­i­nal.

Don’t en­cour­age your child to re­tal­i­ate. While it is vi­tal that chil­dren are sup­ported to be as­sertive and to han­dle con­flict, it is not fair or safe to en­cour­age a child to ‘hit back.’ Kid­scape runs free ZAP work­shops for 9-16 year olds that teach vi­tal skills in man­ag­ing bul­ly­ing and ag­gres­sion.

Talk to the school. It’s im­por­tant that you share with the school what is hap­pen­ing as soon as pos­si­ble.

Doc­u­ment ev­ery­thing. Keep a log of bul­ly­ing in­ci­dents, keep a record of any con­tact with the school and any agreed ac­tion points.

Take fur­ther ac­tion where nec­es­sary. Every school will have a com­plaints pol­icy. If you have fol­lowed the com­plaints process and the bul­ly­ing still hasn’t stopped, seek fur­ther sup­port (e.g. De­part­ment for Ed­u­ca­tion if in Eng­land, your lo­cal MP). Get help. We work with fam­i­lies every day that are go­ing through a bul­ly­ing sit­u­a­tion. We know it is deeply up­set­ting but there is hope. Kid­scape is the UK’s long­est run­ning anti-bul­ly­ing char­ity and is here to help chil­dren and fam­i­lies. Please visit our web­site for fur­ther ad­vice, or con­tact our Par­ent Ad­vice Line. www.kid­scape.org.uk

Lau­ren Sea­ger-Smith

CEO, Kid­scape

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