Are you afraid your sister is engaging in bullying behaviour? Is one of your friends or a co-workers a victim of bullying? Is your neighbour across the hall targeted by bullying? Don't underestimate your power, in every living environment.
If someone around you is bullied, a witness or a perpetrator of acts of bullying, don't hesitate to intervene. Your silence can encourage the maintenance of the situation. It is important to react so that things change. If you fear for your safety, it may be more appropriate to look for help, band together with other witnesses or people around you to intervene, or opt to report the bullying to a competent authority. The important thing is to act.
Examples of actions you can take to help this person:
- listen to the person who confides in you, regardless of his/her role in the situation (bullied person, witness or perpetrator);
- encourage the person to rely on his/her helping resources;
- inform the person of his/her rights and remedies;
- offer your support, for example, by accompanying the person in his/her approaches to obtain professional help or to report the situation;
- notify someone in authority (depending on the situation, this may be the management of the institution where the acts occurred, an adult if the situation involves minors, the police if the perpetrator commits criminal acts, etc.).
As a close relation, friend or colleague, you may also need help. Various resources can support you; don't hesitate to rely on their advice. These resources can also enlighten you about the conduct to adopt in order to choose the right intervention that will provide the most adequate help for the person about whom you are concerned. Indeed, other problems (e.g. conjugal and domestic violence, elder abuse) sometimes are commingled with bullying and these situations may require delicate action to avoid accentuating the problem experienced by the victimized person. Specialized workers can tell you the best approach to take.
Are you afraid your child is a victim of bullying? It is possible your son or your daughter is engaging in bullying behaviour? Has your child witnessed bullying? In short, you are worried. Since 2008, the Ministère de l’Éducation et de l’Enseignement supérieur (MEES) has acted against bullying and violence in the schools. Visit the MEES website for more information.
To act preventively, pay attention to the role model you represent for your children. Acts or comments that seem trivial can influence your children's openness to others and empathy, qualities that must be developed by persons who comit acts of bullying. To help your children develop tools to protect themselves, you can reinforce their self-esteem and their ability to assert themselves.
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