Know Your Rights: Bullying
You have the right to protection from discrimination; protection and care for your well-being; to expect your school to comply with government standards of care for your safety; to support and protection for your survival and development; within the law, to say, think and believe what you like, meet people and go places; to protection from attacks on your honour and reputation; to get an education which respects everyone’s human rights; to play, recreation and participation in cultural life; to protection from inhuman or degrading treatment and to support to recover and get on with your life if that happens.
UNCRC Article 2, 3.2, 3.3, 6, 13, 14, 15, 16, 28, 29, 31, 37, 38
In the UK, there are several laws which could protect you from bullying, depending on what form the bullying takes. In England and Wales, people can be charged with a crime from the age of 10. A crime is a crime whether it’s in the street, in school, in the park, at home or anywhere else. Lots of acts described as ‘bullying’ could be criminal offences. In this story, threats and violence are used to take money. That’s the crime of robbery. If found guilty a person can go to prison – in a serious enough case, for life! Bullying might also amount to the crime of assault, harassment or theft, depending on the facts. Everyone has the right to equal protection under the law.
Section 8 Theft Act 1968 – meaning of ‘robbery’
Welsh Government: Respecting others: anti-bullying overview 2011
Imagine if you were an elderly person – would the teacher say, ‘Just ignore them’?
You have the right to expect that your teachers will comply with standards set to protect your safety in school. In Wales, the Welsh Government has given a legally binding instruction to schools on what they must do about bullying. It says:
Every learner in every school has the right to learn, free from the fear of bullying, whatever form that bullying may take. Everyone involved in a learner’s education needs to work together to ensure that this is the case. Schools need to take an active approach to tackle all forms of bullying, and should be taking action to prevent bullying behaviour as well as responding to incidents when they occur.
It requires schools to have policies in place to prevent and deal with bullying, and to fulfil their legal responsibilities – which include protecting your rights. If you are bullied it can stop you enjoying taking part in many activities which you have a right to do. The teacher must take it seriously, must listen to you and must take action to protect you.
For further information, see http://gov.wales/docs/dcells/publications/160728-anti-bullying-overview-en.pdf
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