Intended for healthcare professionals


Bullying in schools

BMJ 1995; 310 doi: (Published 10 June 1995) Cite this as: BMJ 1995;310:1536

Author's reply

  1. Judith Dawkins
  1. Research senior registrar Department of Mental Health Sciences, St George's Hospital Medical School, London SW17 0RE

    EDITOR,—I agree with Vidya Rao that schools should be encouraged to tackle bullying.1 In my clinical experience, however, parents have not necessarily already taken the matter up with the school. Many parents have not even known that their child was being bullied, and those who have approached the school have often had the response, “We don't have bullying in this school.”

    Schools can do much to reduce bullying. In Norway a national campaign was mounted after three children committed suicide as a result of bullying. A number of measures at the school, class, and individual levels were used. The frequency of bully-victim problems decreased by half during the following two years.2 Rates of truancy and antisocial behaviours in general also dropped, and pupils' satisfaction with school life improved. In Britain the Department of Education's Sheffield bullying project evaluated a similar intervention programme. The results of this were published last year,3 together with clear practical advice for teachers.4 This research provided the basis for the Department for Education's guidelines.5

    In my editorial I hoped to raise doctors' awareness of bullying, its effects on the child, and what can be done in the hope that together doctors, parents, and schools can prevent the continued abuse of victims of bullying in schools.6


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