If you think a child may be a victim of bullying, think SOS.
The following prompt focuses on 3 areas: children’s attitudes to SCHOOL, a parent, carer, or teacher’s general OBSERVATIONS, and things a child might SAY.
Frightened of walking to or from school.
Doesn’t want to go on the school/public bus.
Refuses to go to school.
Suddenly starts asking to be driven to school.
Begins to skip classes or leave school without permission.
Performance in schoolwork begins to drop.
Has dinner or other monies continually ‘lost’.
Comes home from school ‘starving’.
Becomes withdrawn, anxious, or lacking in confidence.
Becomes aggressive, abusive, disruptive, or unreasonable.
Changes their usual routine.
Feels ill in the mornings.
Comes home with clothes torn, property damaged or ‘missing’.
Has unexplained cuts or bruises.
Bullying or is mean to others.
Changes in eating habits.
Changes in a child’s attitude to accessing technology.
Afraid to use the internet or mobile phone.
Nervous or jumpy when a cyber message is received.
Sudden/Unexplained changes in friendship groups.
Mentions suicidal thoughts.
Attempts or indicates that they are self-harming.
Threatens or attempts to run away.
Cries themselves to sleep at night or has nightmares.
Asks for money or starts stealing money.
Is frightened to say what is wrong.
Gives improbable excuses for their behaviour.
If you are worried because you are witnessing these behaviours – then take action. Talk to everyone in the child’s circle – their teachers and/or their designated safeguarding lead. Bullying is very rarely a complete secret.
Share this with your friends, family and colleagues
Safeguarding Board for Northern Ireland
HSC Leadership Centre 12 Hampton Manor Drive Belfast BT7 3EN