Definition of Bullying: “Deliberately hurtful behaviour, repeated over a period of time, where it is difficult for the victim to defend him or herself” (department of education, 1999). “Seek to harm intimidate or coerce, someone perceived as vulnerable.” (Oxford Dictionary, 2020). “The repeated use of power by one or more persons intentionally to harm, hurt or adversely affect the rights or needs of another or others.” (Northern Ireland Anti-Bullying Forum).

Impact of Bullying

If unchecked bullying can impair a child’s ability to learn, develop and participate in classes.

Bullying also impacts a child’s right to protection from all forms of violence, including mental and physical violence. The most commonly recognised type of bullying is by children’s peers. However, it is also important to note that bullying can take place between adults and children, as well as individuals and groups. Bullying methods can be face to face, indirectly or using cyber- bullying methods. All methods of bullying are unacceptable.

Bullying is the abuse of power where the person being bullied finds it difficult to reject or deal with offending behaviour or those bullying have more power over the victim. Power imbalances can be subtle and build up over time. Common examples of power imbalances include being stronger, older, bigger, have more friends, are more established within the club/ school or care less about the consequences of their actions.

Bullying thrives in secrecy, the reluctance of the victim not to talk about it and the lack of knowledge from responsible adults that this is taking place. Nemesis Cheer and Dance (NCD) have a responsibility to create a safe and inclusive learning environment for their participants. NCD is completely opposed to all forms of bullying. Bullying will not be tolerated at this club.

Bullying is a complete contradiction of the aims and values of NCD. This policy is designed alongside NCD Child Protection and club rules.

Types of Bullying

  • Physical - hitting, kicking, theft of belongings, damage to belongings or use of implements to deliberately cause harm.
  • Verbal - threats, name calling, deliberately spreading damaging rumours, sarcasm, swearing, persistent teasing, ridiculing, demeaning, taunting a pupil, insulting someone’s appearance/ abilities/ disabilities/ achievements/ families.
  • Religion based - religious taunts.
  • Indirect - social exclusion or rejection, graffiti, gestures.
  • Sexual - unwanted physical contact, abusive comments, name calling, use of sexualised language, sexting, homophobic name calling.
  • Racist - racist taunting or name calling.
  • Cyber bullying - use of the internet or other electronic communication. Texting, (calls or images), tweets, blogs, forums, chat rooms and use of social networking to hurt, harass, embarrass, demean, provoke or humiliate another using perceived anonymity.

Mobile phones and social networking websites/ applications such as Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, and YouTube can be used for negative purposes and misuse can lead to involvement from the PSNI.

How Bullying Affects the Target/Victim

Bullied children will not always be prepared to tell those in authority. However, when a disclosure is made, it should be treated seriously. While others may not feel certain that certain actions or words are of a bullying nature, if the recipient feels they are being bullied that is sufficient evidence to treat the case as bullying. Bullying can result in a decrease in the victim’s capacity to learn and develop.

Signs of Bullying

  • Unwillingness to come to class.
  • Withdrawn, isolated behaviour.
  • Refusal to talk about problems.
  • Complaining about missing possessions.
  • Avoiding interaction with peers, such as hanging back on breaks.
  • Nail biting, flinching, jumpiness, distracted behaviour.
  • Illness caused by stress, loss of sleep and change in eating habits.
  • Out of character aggression or temper.
  • Attempts to inflict harm on them self. (These behaviours can be symptomatic of other problems, that aren’t bullying related).

Consequences of Bullying

  • Bullying can have detrimental effects on the victim. NCD staff will do everything they can to ensure incidents of bullying are not repeated. Incidents of bullying could result in the bully:
  • Being given targets to improve their unsociable behaviour.
  • Both children being interviewed to determine the form of bullying.
  • Support to both the victim and the bully, to improve their behaviour.
  • Repeated incidents of serious bullying could result in the removal of the bully from class.

How we aim to help the target/ victim

NCD has a responsibility to create a supportive and disciplined environment which will foster the individual development and caring for children and young people. NCD aims to do this by:

  • Creating a supportive environment
  • By taking bullying and the impact of bullying seriously.
  • Bullying investigations will involve both the bully and the bullied and will aim to resolve these issues as best as possible.
  • The bullied individual must be supported.
  • The bully will be supported in recognising their unsociable behaviour and provided support to improve and modify their behaviour.

The club will

  • Take all bullying problems seriously.
  • Investigate all incidents thoroughly.
  • Insure bullies and victims are interviewed separately.
  • Obtain witness information.
  • Inform staff about incidents involving NCD athletes.
  • Ensure action is taken to prevent further bullying.

Such actions may include

  • Obtaining an apology.
  • Informing parents of the bullied and the bully.
  • Provide support for both the bully and the victim.
  • Mediation between the bully and victim.

Role and responsibility surrounding bullying

Roles of coaches, volunteers and staff

  • Encourage athletes to have self confidence, positive self esteem, self respect and respect for others.
  • Demonstrate by example the high standard of social and personal behaviour we expect from our athletes.
  • Discuss bullying with their classes to ensure athletes understand bullying, the consequences of bullying and the importance of telling an adult.
  • Be alert to signs of distress and bullying.
  • Listen to children/ young people who have been bullied, always take what they say seriously, record and act to support and protect them.
  • Talk with the child accused of bullying to determine the nature of bullying.
  • Report suspected cases of bullying to the head coach or child protection officer.
  • Follow up any complaint from a parent on bullying and report back promptly with a report on what action has been taken.
  • Deal with incidents of bullying promptly and effectively.

Responsibility of Athletes

Pupils in general:

  • Follow the rules of Nemesis Cheer and Dance.
  • Refrain from becoming involved in any type of bullying, in or outside of NCD classes, even when risking temporary unpopularity.
  • Intervene to protect other children/ young people from bullying, unless unsafe to do so.
  • Report to coaches any instance of witnesses or suspected bullying.
  • Help create a climate where bullying is unacceptable.
  • Value and respect everyone, other athletes, coaches, staff and volunteers.
  • Help and support the achievements of others.
  • Keep others safe.

Victims of bullying:

  • Not to suffer in silence. Have the courage to speak up and tell an adult.

Responsibility of parents/guardians

We ask parents support us by:

  • Watch for signs of distress or unusual behaviour in their children, which could be evidence of bullying.
  • Advise their children to report incidents of bullying to their coach and explain the consequences of bullying and the impact it can have on victims, especially if left unchecked.
  • Advising their children not to react with any form of violence to bullying in any form.
  • Be sympathetic and supportive to their children in the face of bullying, reassuring them.
  • Keeping a written record of any instances of bullying.
  • Informing NCD of any incidents of bullying, whether their child is involved or not.
  • Co-operating with NCD, if their child is accused of bullying, try to gain the truth, and point out the implications of bullying, both for their child and the child being bullied.

Responsibility of all

  • Work together to create a safe, happy, positive, anti-bullying environment in our club. Preventative actions to create an anti-bullying environment
  • Promote a caring, safe environment at all times.
  • Promote awareness of responsibilities and rights of all involved in the club.
  • Recognise and reward, positive, good and respective behaviours.
  • Provide supervision of athletes during class and any water breaks during class.
  • Establish and communicate good parental communication.
  • Use of outside agencies to provide support e.g. NSPCC.

Reactive Strategies

Incidents of bullying will be dealt with by:

  • The incident of bullying will be dealt with as quickly as possible by the member of staff it has been reported to.
  • Attempts will be made to resolve the problem as quickly as possible.
  • All reports and incidents of bullying will be taken seriously.
  • Steps will be taken to ensure the victim feels safe.
  • A clear account of what happened will be reported to the head coach.
  • Significant/repeated incidents will result in parent or guardian being informed.

Procedure for dealing with bullying

Step one - reporting of incident When an incident is reported it will be passed on to the head coach or child development officer.

Step two - investigation of incident

  • Following on from step one the incident will be investigated by the appropriate member of staff.
  • Pupils involved will be interviewed and a report will be made of their response, using an incident form.
  • Parents/ guardians will be informed with NCD plan to follow up.

Step three - agreeing a polar for resolution

  • A plan will be designed to resolve the conflict.
  • Targets for acceptable behaviour will be set out, including support for all involved.

Step four - reviewing the situation

  • The situation will be monitored and reviewed within one month of the initial report.
  • This will involve the designated member of staff, other members of staff if needed, the children involved and their parents, if necessary.

Step five - involvement of other agencies Where necessary NCD will seek advice of other agencies, such as NSPCC.

Monitoring, evaluation and review of the anti-bullying policy

This policy will be monitored and implemented by the head coach/ child protection officer for NCD. The policy will be reviewed and evaluated by all members of staff every two years. This policy along with other child protection policies for NCD will be made available to all staff, parents and athletes of NCD.