Understanding bullying


Bullying is a pervasive issue affecting school and university students and the educational facilities globally. This e-book aims to provide a comprehensive guide to mediating bullying disputes, emphasising the importance of understanding, addressing, and resolving issues that can impact both individuals and the educational facilities as a whole.


What bullying looks like


Bullying in schools is a serious and pervasive issue that can have profound effects on the well-being of students. Recognizing the signs and manifestations of bullying is crucial for creating a safe and inclusive learning environment. Bullying can take various forms, and it’s important to understand the different ways it can occur:


  • Verbal bullying:

Name-calling: persistent use of derogatory or offensive names to belittle or demean a fellow student.

Insults and put-downs: regularly using hurtful language or remarks that undermine an individual’s self-esteem.

Public humiliation: criticising or mocking someone in front of others, intentionally causing embarrassment.


  • Physical bullying:

Intimidation: physical threats or imposing gestures meant to instil fear or submission.

Aggressive behaviour: physically aggressive actions directed at a student such as pushing, shoving, or any form of physical assault.


  • Social/psychological bullying:

Isolation: deliberately excluding or isolating an individual from school-related activities or social interactions.

Relational aggression: social bullying, also known as relational aggression, involves manipulating social relationships to harm a student’s social standing. This can include spreading rumours, gossiping, exclusion, or turning peers against the targeted student.

Manipulation: employing deceitful tactics to control or manipulate another student’s behaviour or decisions.


  • Cyberbullying:

In the digital age, cyberbullying occurs through electronic means, such as social media, text messages, or online platforms. It can involve harassment, spreading rumours, or sharing inappropriate content with the intent to harm.


  • Sexual bullying:

Sexual bullying involves unwelcome sexual comments, gestures, or behaviours that create a hostile or intimidating environment for the targeted student.


  • Prejudice-based bullying:

Prejudice-based bullying targets a student based on their perceived differences, such as race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or disability.


  • Extortion:

Extortion in a school setting involves forcing a student to do something against their will by using threats, intimidation, or coercion.


  • Property damage or theft:

Bullying may extend to property damage or theft, where a student’s belongings are intentionally damaged or stolen.

Effects on students

■ Behavioural changes
■ Social withdrawal
■ Emotional outbursts, increased irritability, or expressions of distress
■ Fear and apprehension of going to school
■ Deteriorating mental health
■ Health issues, sleep disturbances
■ Weakened immune system
■ Increased absenteeism

Effects on the organisation/school

■ Negative school culture
■ Diminished reputation of the school
■ Reduced academic performance of students
■ Disruption to learning environment
■ Erosion of trust and teacher/student relations
■ Increased disciplinary issues
■ Compromised school safety
■ Parental concerns and involvement

Reach out to any of our nationwide DDR centres or on social media to find out more or to book an appointment:


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In schools, mediation against bullying is a nuanced and transformative process. It empowers students through structured communication, fostering inclusivity, empathy, and resilience. Mediation is not just conflict resolution; it's a catalyst for personal and collective growth, creating safe and nurturing educational environments.

Want to know more about school and bullying mediation? Download our complimentary eBook on “Bullying: A Guide to Mediating Bullying Disputes” or any of our other eBooks.