Everyone has the right to feel safe, whether they are young or old.
What is bullying?
Bullying happens when somebody is verbally abusive towards you, physically hurts you or causes you to feel upset emotionally.
There are different types of bullying, whether in person or online. Bullying can happen to anyone. It can be a one off, or a regular, ongoing experience.
What are hate incidents and hate crimes?
A hate crime/incident is when someone bullies you or commits a crime against you because they perceive you to be different in some way. For example, because of your sexual orientation, gender identity, race, religion, or disability.
For a hate crime/incident to take place, it does not always have to involve physical harm or violence. If someone is harassing you, using offensive language towards you or posting abusive messages about you online, then this counts as a form of hate crime.
How does bullying and hate make you feel?
Experiencing bullying or being the victim of a hate crime can make life very difficult.
People who are on the receiving end of bullying or hate may find that it has negatively affected their mood and confidence. They feel worthless, lonely, isolated and anxious. In some severe cases, people can develop anxiety and depression, or turn to unhealthy coping strategies such as alcohol, drugs or self-harm.
Bullying and hate crimes in any form are unacceptable and hurtful. It is everyone’s responsibility to make sure that no one has to live in fear of being hurt, harassed or victimised because of who they are.
People who are being bullied often feel alone, and may not feel strong enough to stand up to their bullies. Talking to someone you trust is the first and most important step for getting help. Consider talking to a family member, teacher or your school nurse.
If you don’t feel like you can talk to an adult about what is happening in school, then see if there is a friend or family member who can do this for you.
If the bullying is happening outside of school, in the community or online, then sharing this with a family member or friend is important. You can still share this with a teacher or the school nurse if you feel that they are a safe person to talk to.
If the bullying is happening online, via social media, you can report posts or comments if they are offensive or are causing you distress. In some severe cases, incidents of bullying need to be reported to the police, especially if it involves harassment or hate crimes/incidents.
How to get help
If you have any more questions on this area or would like to speak to somebody about this topic, have a look at the links or search for your local services in the blue box below. Alternatively you can always contact your public health nurse.
Have you seen this film made by young people about bullying?
Check out this short film which highlights ways in which we can all support hate crime victims without putting ourselves at any risk.
Find help in your local area
Find out what services are available to you in your area. Remember your school nurse is always there to give you confidential help and support.