Bullying of any form is totally unacceptable and should be robustly addressed by schools as and when it occurs in or out of school. We know that 70% of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller children will experience race-based discrimination during their education career. Use the tools and services below to be support your child. We are working diligently to address attitudes towards the bullying of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller children at a national and local level every day.
Experiencing bullying of any kind can be extremely difficult for any child or young person. As a parent or carer, you can often be left feeling helpless, watching your child or young person face difficulties they may not be equipped to deal with.
The most important thing to remember is that engaging with your child or young person about the potential bullying they are facing is essential. The process of engaging with a child on the topic of bullying can often be very difficult and many parents fear causing embarrassment or the risk of isolating their child and potentially damaging their relationships. It is important to remember that, although it may be difficult to start with, your support for your child or young person is often the best chance your child has of seeking support.
Bullying can cause child to be become stressed, anxious, and depressed, which are all risk factors for self-harm and suicide. Your intervention, carried out in the right way, using the services available to you may be the intervention needed to assist your child in tackling the bullying they may be experiencing. By acting you are working to safeguard the wellbeing, health and life of your child or young person.
What sub-section are available on this page?
- Advice on Supporting a Child who is Being Bullied
- Support Services for Bullying
- How to Raise Concerns Over Mishandling of Bullying
- Support We Offer
Advice on Supporting a Child who is Being Bullied
Talk openly with your child or young person about bullying and cyberbullying
Take the time to speak with your child about bullying so that they are equipped to recognise persistent mistreatment from others and can give that mistreatment a name, bullying.
Children who have been, or are being bullied can often feel scared, embarrassed, and confused about how to feel and how to seek help. This can be especially prominent with boys, as they can often feel pressure to not engage with their emotions or have the belief that being bullied makes them weak. This is not the case as no one deserves to be bullied under any circumstances.
Help them understand where they can ask for help
If they don’t want to talk to you, suggest they have a chat with another trusted adult, such as a teacher or family member.
You could also suggest they contact Childline, where a trained counsellor will provide a listening ear.
They don’t have to give their name and they can talk about anything that’s worrying them.
Give them space and the tools to relax away from the stress of being bullied
Children and young people may lack confidence because of bullying. Help them find things to do that make them feel good, like listening to, or playing, music, or doing sport. Give them opportunities to help build their confidence.
Remember to reassure them that it’s not their fault and that they’re loved and valued.
Report bullying to the school or place of learning
Reporting bullying to a school or a place of learning is an incredibly important step in tackling bullying. Many families fear repercussions to their child’s safety or education from reporting bullying, but schools are duty bound to make sure that this doesn’t happen – it’s important to ask yourself, is my child safe or happy if I don’t report bullying?
The answer will often be, no.
Report online bullying (such as on social media or gaming platforms)
As well as supporting your child emotionally, there are practical steps you can take if the bullying has taken place on an online platform, such as a social media app or online gaming chat room.
Don’t stop them from using the internet or their mobile phone. It probably won’t help keep them safe, it may feel like they’re being punished and could stop them from telling you what’s happening.
Make sure your child knows how to block anyone who posts hateful or abusive things about them on each app or online service they use. You can usually find details of how to do this in the help or online safety area, under Settings.
Report anyone who is bullying your child to the platform that’s carried the offending comments, audio, image or video. Follow these links to contact some of the most popular social media platforms and learn more about blocking and reporting:
You can find details of more apps and games children and young people use, and how to contact them, on our Net Aware site.
Thinkuknow has advice on online safety for young people that’s suitable for different age groups. The website shows children how to contact social media sites if they believe someone has posted something upsetting about them.
Block’em is a free app for Android users that blocks unwanted calls and text messages from specified numbers. Its website also provides advice for iOS users.
Worried about how to support a young person who has had a sexual image or video of themselves shared online? If they’re under 18, they can use Childline and the Internet Watch Foundation’s Discreet Report Remove tool to see if it can be taken down. Young people can get support from Childline throughout the process.
Report hate crime
Bullying someone because of their gender, gender identity, sexuality, religious beliefs, race, skin colour or because they have a disability, is hate crime and against the law.
If this is happening to your child or a child you know, you or the child can report it online. You or your child can also contact the police by phone on 101. Call 999 in an emergency or 101 at other times.
Citizen’s Advice has further information about types of hate crime and discrimination you may find helpful. Children and young people can get advice and support from Childline.
Check in with your child
Once you know your child is being bullied, remember to check in with them regularly. Remind them that they can talk to you about how they’re feeling whenever they want.
Access health support services for your child or young person
There are many ways to access health support services for your child. Ask you GP or school for more information about services which may be available in school in school or within the community.
Support Services for Bullying
We are leading the movement to make sure every young person gets the mental health support they need, when they need it, no matter what.
It takes courage to ask for help. But for many young people who do, the support they need just isn’t there.
In the UK today, an estimated five children in every classroom has a mental health problem. A quarter of 17-year-old girls have self-harmed in the last year while suicide remains the single biggest killer of boys and young men. But things can get better.
We provide young people with tools to look after their mental health. We empower adults to be the best support they can be to the young people in their lives. And we give young people the space and confidence to get their voices heard and change the world we live in.
Together, we can create a world where no young person feels alone with their mental health.
Access the Young Minds website here.
Young Minds - Textline
There’s no problem ‘too big’ or ‘too small’ – if you can’t cope, don’t bottle it up. Whether you’ve had a really stressful day, or you’ve been going through something difficult for a while and don’t know where to turn, text YM to 85258 any time. We’re here for you.
YoungMinds Textline service can help if you’re going through something difficult or distressing, including:
Childline is here to help anyone under 19 in the UK with any issue they’re going through.
You can talk about anything. Whether it’s something big or small, our trained counsellors are here to support you.
Childline is free, confidential and available any time, day or night. You can talk to us:
Whatever feels best for you.
Access the Childline website here.
How to Raise Concerns Over Mishandling of Bullying
This section is supported by the information provided by the Anti-Bullying Alliance.
Most of the time schools are willing and able to manage concerns about bullying but sometimes children and their parents and carers feel that the school are not listening and that they need to take further action. It may also be the case that you believe the school is not addressing concerns of racist bullying because you’re a Gypsy, Roma and Traveller family. In any case, a complaint should be made to challenge the actions of the school. Many parents are concerned about retaliatory action, although this is a possibility, it would possibly be unlawful, support would be made available to assist you in challenging retaliatory behaviour, and it is not a good enough reason to leave instances of the mishandling bullying concerns go unchallenged.
For more information on making a complaint about a school if a bullying issue is not resolved, including relevant forms and contact details for Ofsted, the Education Funding Agency and the Department for Education visit https://contact.ofsted.gov.uk/online-complaints.
Follow the school complaints procedure
Whether your child is in a school, academy, or a college – be it private or public, your first step in making a complaint should be to follow their internal complaints procedure (schools must have this under the Education Act 2002 and they must make this available to you). A typical process may involve talking through your concerns with your child’s tutor or Head of Year, sending a letter to the Head teacher, and then if that does not address your concerns, sending a letter to the Chair of Governors. Always keep your letters brief and factual and keep copies of the letters that you send. If your child is still experiencing the bullying, it can be helpful if they keep a diary of events so that you can also share this with the school.
Further action you can take
- Contact the local authority. It may be that your local authority has staff members who can offer support to you or your child. Bullying is a child protection issue, and the local authority must take your concerns seriously.
- Contact the Secretary of State for Education. If your child is in a maintained school, you can contact the Secretary of State for Education. This should always be a last resort after you have followed the schools’ complaints procedure, and you should include all steps you have already taken to resolve the complaint. Write to The Secretary of State, Department for Education, Sanctuary Buildings, Great Smith Street, London, SW1P 3BT. Visit https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-for-education for further details.
- Contact Ofsted. As well as inspecting how schools perform, Under Section 11 of the Education Act 2005, Ofsted has powers to consider certain complaints about schools (these are called ‘qualifying complaints’). Qualifying complaints must meet a set of criteria and must raise an issue that affects the school rather than an individual. You must also have followed the school complaints process before making a complaint to Ofsted. Ofsted carefully considers all complaints received and acts when it is in its power to do so. For more details visit www.ofsted.gov.uk.
- Contact your local MP. Your local MP is available to listen to your concerns about bullying – whether in school or the wider community. They may be able to raise concerns on your behalf with the local authority or the Department for Education.
Support We Offer
Find out more about the Traveller Movement’s Education Advice and Advocacy Team and how they can support you with tackling Gypsy, Roma and Traveller bullying.