a boy wearing white shirt looking lost in thoughts as he sit on a couch surrounded by friends chatting

A guide for young people Bullying

If you're being bullied, whether it's online or at school, university or work, it can be really difficult and leave you feeling hurt - but you are not alone. We have advice on how you can tell someone and get help.

What is bullying?

Instagram artwork by @stacieswift. There is a piece of lined paper stuck onto a pink wall with blue pieces of tape. The note talks about how strong you are.

Artwork credit: @stacieswift. The artwork depicts a note with a ruled page taped to a surface reading: 'You might not feel it, but you're so very brave and so much stronger than you realise.'

If somebody physically hurts you, or verbally abuses you, that’s bullying.

Specific types of bullying include:

  • homophobic bullying based on your sexual orientation
  • racist bullying because of your skin colour or ethnicity
  • religious bullying because of your beliefs or faith.
  • sizeist bullying referring to your body size
  • sexist bullying focusing on you being of the opposite sex
  • cyberbullying targeting you online, often anonymously
  • bullying because you are different

Bullying can be a one-off or it can go on for a long time. And bullying can happen to anyone.

No matter how alone you might feel, there is always someone you can talk to and someone who can help.

Get help for bullying

Ignoring bullying won’t make it go away. You need to tell someone about what is happening.

If the bullying is happening at school
Talk to your parents or carers and your teacher. Your teacher may have no idea that you are being bullied, and the school will have an anti-bullying policy to tackle it.

If you feel you can’t speak to your teacher, maybe a friend can do it for you. You can also speak to a school counsellor, welfare officer or nurse.

In extreme cases, if bullying is interfering with your education it may be possible for you to change schools if it doesn’t stop once you have reported it.

If the bullying is happening outside school
Talk to your parents or carers, close relatives such as grandparents, aunties and uncles, or even your friends’ parents. Youth workers and leaders may be able to help too.

If the bullying is happening online
Tell a trusted adult – your parents or carers, or a teacher. You can report abusive posts on Facebook and other social media platforms. You can also report abuse to CEOP (Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre).

Keep reporting the bullying until it stops. It may not stop the first time you tell your parents or teacher and they try to stop it. If the bullying continues, tell them again. Don’t put up with it. No one deserves to be bullied.

Tips from young people like you

  • Your worth and who you are as a person is not defined by other people. Be yourself and you will flourish! I know it's so hard right now and everything feels like it's against you but please speak out and tell someone. Letting it out will make you feel so much better
  • You are worth so much more than you think. Being bullied is scary, painful and really hard - but you don’t have to suffer in silence. Speak to someone you trust to let them know what is happening and together, you can work to make it better
  • Bullying is not your fault, and things can get better.
Instagram artwork by @stacieswift. A gold, red, pink, blue and mint rainbow is in the middle of the image.

Artwork credit: @stacieswift. The artwork depicts a yellow, orange, pink, blue and green rainbow. In the orange, pink and blue of the rainbow, the text reads: 'you are every nice word I can think of'.

Get help now

Whatever you're going through, you don't have to go through it alone. Here are some organisations who can support you. 

You might also find helpful...

Bullying can affect us in lots of ways. Here's some more advice and information you might find helpful. 

If you're a parent or carer

A lady speaking on her mobile phone at a picnic table

If you are a parent or carer of a child or young person who is being bullied, we can support you through our Parents Helpline. We are here to listen to you, and give you free, confidential advice and information.

Parents Helpline and Webchat