16 November 2017
Highlands & Islands (including Moray) Regional MSP Rhoda Grant, who set up the anti-bullying web site Tobie -Tackling Oppressive Behaviour In Employment during 2014, has commented on bullying behaviuor during this year’s anti-bullying week.
Rhoda said, “It is a sad reflection on society that in the 21st century, bullying is rife within the work place as well as at schools, colleges and in other forms of life.
“The individual who suffers at the hands of bullies is scarred for a very long time if not for life.
“Such behaviour causes mental health issues to the innocent sufferer who is subject to bouts of anxiety, depression, stress, associated illnesses and ultimately absence from work or school.
“Employers have a key role to play in trying to stamp out this anti social and unacceptable behaviour and as a stepping stone in the right direction, every employer and school or college should make sure they have an anti bullying policy which all staff are aware of.
“ I would like to think that any acts of bullying within the workplace, school or colleges will be viewed seriously and where there is evidence the perpetrator will be subject to due process”.
“Of course it is hard to get people to talk about bullying, but I would plead with anyone who is subjected to this form of cowardly behaviour to speak to someone about it in the first place, whether that be a colleague or a Line Manager or even a parent or guardian.
“I am hopeful that for some my site www.tobie.org.uk will enable sufferers to seek that right advice and guidance, point them in the right direction and hopefully help them with the bully and break away from this unwanted and despicable behaviour.
"There are many other supportive anti bullying sites, so I plead with anyone suffering to take positive action and seek advice or guidance, or at least speak to some one you can trust.
“This is a very complex issue and there are no easy answers. This week I want to first focus on children who are bullied and give parents some tips if their child tells them they have been bullied:
“Despite the temptation to get upset and angry, resist it, stay calm and listen to your child and to show them that you are taking them seriously, clarify what they have told you by telling them the story back.
"Reassure them that being bullied has nothing to do with being weak and being a bully does not make a person strong, far from it.
"Help build their self esteem and confidence by encouraging them to join a new club or group.
"Advise them that the bully is the weak person, the person who feels challenged or uncertain. The bully is the person who no doubt has issues of his/her own and their way of dealing with them are to pick on others."
Rhoda continued, “I would strongly advise parents to try and stay calm, find out what your child would like you to do, do not go off demanding to speak to the Head Teacher or talk about going straight to the Police.
"Finally, if your child has had the courage to tell you about the bullying, do something positive about it , don’t just tell them to ignore it as this gives out the message that bullying should be tolerated.
"Consider keeping a diary of events and seek help from the school in dealing with this issue if it persists.
"In relation to work place bullying, your work place should have an anti bullying policy.
"If you are suffering at the hands of a bully, make yourself aware of the contents of this policy.
"Speak to someone close, be that a colleague, Manager or friend and seek their advice.
"If the bullying continues speak with your Union Representative if you have one and your First Line Manager and keep a diary of events.
"Again my site www.tobie.org.uk gives suitable advice and is a site which can signpost anyone seeking help to the appropriate support network.
"There are many on line sites that offer guidance and help.
Whatever you do, do not put up with this anti social behaviour, do something positive which will help yourself and ultimately others.