Several factors can influence the method you choose to report bullying. For instance, it could depend on the type and location of the bullying activities. Bullying can take place in schools, in workplaces, and via technological means, such as on cell phones and websites. Your choice of bullying intervention might also depend on your particular role, such as if you are a student, parent, teacher, or office manager. By becoming familiar with the anti-bullying laws or policies that pertain to a particular situation, you can help stop bullying wherever it occurs.
School bullying is extremely common. Some examples of the types of bullying that children often engage in include physical, verbal, and emotional bullying. Physical bullying involves any contact with the victim that causes him or her to be injured or afraid of being hurt. Verbal and emotional bullying usually entails harmful words and actions that intimidate the student or make him or her feel isolated. All of these behaviors may be carried out by one child, or by a group of children, against another student. Anyone who observes a student being victimized can usually report bullying incidents to school officials. If necessary, a counseling referral can be made by a teacher or other adult who has spoken with a bullied student.
Cyber bullying is another form of bullying that affects children. It involves harassment or threats using cell phones, e-mail, or other technological means. According to some advocacy groups, both adults and children can be perpetrators of cyber bullying, but only children can be considered victims. The common terms used to describe such behavior toward adults are cyber stalking or harassment. One way to report bullying that occurs online is to contact cell phone or e-mail service providers, for example. You can file reports about potential violations of their terms of service, which usually include typical cyber bullying activities.
Adults in certain positions of authority normally have an obligation to report bullying if a child is endangered. If necessary, someone in law enforcement or child protective services may be called in to deal with either school bullying or cyber bullying. This is usually the case whenever assault, obscene or harassing calls or messages, child pornography, or any other criminal act has taken place. Laws vary by jurisdiction, but you may also be able to consult a lawyer about the possibility of filing a civil suit.
To report bullying in the workplace, many employees contact a human resources representative. In some cases, they might speak directly with the bully’s supervisor. Depending on the company’s anti-bullying policies, you may be able to file either an incident report or a police report. Furthermore, many instances of workplace bullying are based on discrimination. Most U.S. organizations are subject to laws prohibiting workplace discrimination, so you can often file an administrative or civil complaint. While most of the relevant laws contain no official reference to bullying, a company can sometimes be sued by an employee for creating a hostile work environment. Some lawyers also argue that employers may be found guilty of “negligent retention” if they knowingly keep a workplace bully on staff.