Anti-Bullying Policy

This procedure is supported by the SONG anti-bullying policy. Its aim is to provide guidance to volunteers, as well as to children and young people who may experience bullying, so that they will know what to do if an incident of bullying occurs between children and young people.

The procedure also aims to ensure that SONG responds fairly and consistently to incidents of bullying, recognising that those who bully often have needs too.

We recognise that:

  • Bullying is "behaviour, usually repeated over time, that intentionally hurts another individual or group, physically or emotionally."
  • One person or a group can bully others.
  • bullying can occur either face to face between individuals or groups or online, using information technology, such as computers or mobile phones.

Bullying can include:

  • Verbal teasing or making fun of someone.
  • Excluding children from games and conversations.
  • Pressurising other children not to be friends with the person who is being bullied.
  • Spreading hurtful rumours or passing round inappropriate photographs/images/drawings.
  • Shouting at or verbally abusing someone.
  • Stealing or damaging someone’s belongings.
  • Making threats.
  • Forcing someone to do something embarrassing, harmful or dangerous.
  • Harassment on the basis of race, gender, sexuality or disability.
  • Physical or sexual assault (although all sexual incidents and all but very minor physical incidents constitute abuse and must be dealt with in accordance with child protection procedures.)

Bullying causes real distress:

It can affect a person’s health and development and, at the extreme, can cause significant harm; people are often targeted by bullies because they appear different from others; we all have a role to play in preventing bullying and putting a stop to bullying.

The purpose of this policy is:

  • To prevent bullying from happening in our organisation, as much as possible.
  • when bullying does happen, to make sure it is stopped as soon as possible and that those involved receive the support they need.
  • to provide information to all volunteers, children and their families about what we should all do to prevent and deal with bullying.

We will seek to prevent bullying by:

Developing a code of behaviour that sets out the "dos" and "don'ts" in terms of how everyone involved in SONG is expected to behave, both in face-to-face contact and online.

Holding discussions with volunteers, children, young people and families to ensure that they understand our anti-bullying policy.

These discussions will focus on:

  • Group members’ responsibilities to look after one another and uphold the behaviour code.
  • Practising skills such as listening to each other.
  • Respecting the fact that we are all different.
  • Making sure that no one is without friends.
  • Dealing with problems in a positive way.
  • Checking that the anti-bullying measures are working well.
  • Developing a complaints policy and procedure. Making sure that volunteers, children and young people, and parents and carers have clear information about our anti-bullying policy, complaints procedure, code of behaviour and anti-bullying procedure.

When bullying occurs, we will respond to it by:

  • Having a clear anti-bullying procedure in place.
  • Providing support for all volunteers on dealing with all forms of bullying, including racial, sexist, homophobic and sexual bullying.
  • Addressing the issue from the point of view of the person being bullied, the bully, any bystanders and SONG as a whole.
  • Reviewing the plan developed to address the bullying, in order to ensure that the problem has been resolved.
  • Avoiding any punishments that make the individuals concerned seem small, or look or feel foolish in front of others.
  • Monitoring and review.

The SONG Committee are responsible for monitoring the effectiveness of this policy.

This policy will be reviewed every two years.

The next review is due on: AUGUST 2016.

Policy adopted in accordance with guidance obtained from NSPCC registered charity numbers 216401 and SC037717. Children England registered charity number 1044239

Our House Rules require that members treat each other with "respect" at all times:

Such 'Respect' means that Children and young people are expected to:

  • Cooperate with each other.
  • Be friendly.
  • Llisten to each other.
  • Be helpful.
  • Follow our rules.
  • Respect each other when using the internet, social networking sites, mobile phones, etc.
  • Have good manners.
  • Join in.
  • Respect each other’s differences.
  • Treat volunteers with respect.
  • Report anything that worries or concerns them to a committee member.

Children and young people shouldn't:

  • Pick on or make fun of each other.
  • Bully each other.
  • Stare at others.
  • Yell or shout at others.
  • Be abusive.
  • Use equipment to be abusive or to cyberbully - for example, by using mobile phones to send nasty messages, taking and sharing photos without permission, sending nasty emails, or "trolling" (leaving unkind comments on a webpage or social network profile).

If an adult is bullying a child/young person, this should be reported under the child protection procedures.

If a child or young person is bullying another child to the extent that it may cause significant harm, then it will also need to be dealt with under child protection procedures.

Signs that someone may be being bullied could include:

  • Being unhappy, withdrawn and unwilling to spend time in a group, especially during unstructured periods e.g. break time
  • Being without friends
  • Missing meetings and activities at SONG and/or expressing a reluctance to attend
  • Being clingy with adults
  • Appearing to lose possessions or money (things that may have really been stolen by or given away to bullies)
  • Unexplained injuries
  • Uncharacteristic illness or aggression

Some of these signs might also indicate abuse at the hands of adults or other negative experiences, so they should be treated with caution.

What to do if you are being bullied

If you are being bullied you should never keep it to yourself. Tell someone you trust. This could be your teacher, a committee member at SONG or someone else. It could also be your parent or carer. You may prefer to tell another child or young person first and ask that person to help you tell an adult. If the bullying is happening at SONG we will sort it out here. If it’s happening somewhere else at school, for example, , we will get other people involved to stop it happening there.

What to do if you observe a child or young person being bullied or if someone tells you he/she is being bullied

If you are a child or young person and someone tells you that he or she is being bullied, don’t try to deal with it yourself. Talk to the person about getting help from an adult. Try to persuade him or her to go with you to explain the situation to a committee member at SONG If he/she won’t do this, the best way to help is to explain that you will have to tell an adult yourself -- and then go ahead and tell someone.

If you are an adult and a child tells you that he or she is being bullied, take the child seriously. Do not tell him/her to stop being silly or to keep out of the way of the bullies. This will not help and will make the child feel let down and less inclined to tell anyone else. Listen to the child’s full account of what is going on and complete the bullying reporting form with the child as soon as possible.

If you observe the bullying directly, act assertively to put a stop to it. Explain to all concerned that the incident will have to be reported properly to stop it happening again.

Unless the incident is minor and can be dealt with informally, the child’s parent or carer should be informed.

If possible, there should be a three-way meeting between the child, the committe member and the parent. There should also be another committee member present in order to accurately record the discussion.

If the bullying is taking place in another environment (eg school) the committee member should ask what support the parent and child would like, in order to engage with whoever the responsible agencies might be. The committee member should aim to work in partnership with both parent and child and any other people who may be involved.

If the bullying is taking place within SONG, the parent and child should be reassured that it will be dealt with as a priority and should be asked for their views on what would be helpful to deal with the situation.

The committee member having spoken to the child who has been bullied and the child’s parent/carer, should also speak to the bully (or bullies) and obtain their account of what has happened or is happening. This should be noted in writing and the parents/carers of the bully (or bullies) should be informed. The bully and his or her parents/carers should be asked for their views on what should be done to put a stop to any further bullying and to repair the damage that has been done.

Apart from very minor incidents that have been directly observed by a staff member and dealt with at the time, all bullying that takes place at SONG should be discussed with the Committee within 5 working days.

At the meeting, the bullying incident should be discussed and the details of a draft plan drawn up to address the situation, taking into account any suggestions made by the children involved and their parents/carers.

The following areas should be covered:

Details of any apology that has been or should be offered by the bully (or bullies);details of any support for the person who has been bullied eg use of buddy scheme; details of any consequences for the bully, in addition to making an apology, with reference to the behaviour code; details of any support for the bully, with reference to the behaviour code; details of any further discussions or work to be done with others in the group, including children who may have observed or encouraged the bullying; details of any changes in how SONG may handle issues of bullying in future.

The plan should be shared with the children concerned and their parents and should be reviewed regularly.

Keeping a record of the bullying

Take clear notes of any discussions or meetings that take place following the bullying incident. The plan for dealing with the aftermath of the incident should be copied to the child who has been bullied and his/her parent/carer and to the bullies and their parents/carers. It should also be placed on the file.

This procedure should be reviewed every two years.

Date of last review:

September 2014

Date of next review:

August 2016

The person responsible for reviewing it is:

Fiona Seed on behalf of SONG COMMITTEE

Adopted by SONG in accordance with guidance of NSPCC registered charity numbers 216401 and 1044239

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