Bullying Behaviour Interventions
There are a number of ways for dealing with bullying behaviour. We have identified two categories of intervention, direct response
and after the act
. Six different strategies
are outlined below for the direct response and eight interventions
for after the act. The response options to bullying behaviour
(ROBB) model is also discussed to help select between the options. A range of resources and links is also provided on the others that help
It should be noted that these approaches cannot be used in isolation. Organisations also need to:
- investigate the hazards and level or risk they face from inappropriate behaviour
- develop a plan to address these hazards
- establish behaviour agreements or policies
- educate everyone on bullying behaviour and what is not acceptable
- train staff to recongise bullying behaviour and how to deal with it
- establish mechanisms and processes to deal with it when it occurs
Direct response is when you see bullying behaviour occur and you act to address it immediately. Four response options are relevant that have been described in the response style curve
combined with the use of six possible strategies. The options and strategies are:
Back to the top
- Coaching by either questioning what is going on or discussing how the behaviour is eroding respect and the relationship.
- Challenging by referring to the expectations of the behaviour agreement (or policy) and looking to swap the behaviour with an appropriate behaviour.
- Reprimand by naming the behaviour to establish the expectation that it stops.
- Consequences or punishment are issued. These consequences can be scaled in severity based on the severity and number of occurrences of the behaviour.
After the act
This is when the bullying behaviour is reported later and requires action to deal with the situation. There are eight different interventions that have been used to deal with bullying behaviour. While some of them have been known to be used in a range of situations including schools and the workplace, all the interventions have been sourced from school based programs. This is because education settings have been the leader in this area for many years and it is only more recently that it is begun to be addressed in other situations such as the workplace and in sport. By summarising the school based interventions it can help other sectors to learn from their experience and look at new ways of dealing with issues.
The eight interventions are:
- Strengthening the target
- Restorative justice
- Support group method (SGM)
- Method of shared concern (MSC)
- Collaborative problem-solving & resolution (CPR)
- Referral to the authorities
The eighth option - referral of the matter to the authorities (e.g. Police) - would be dependent on the nature of the offence. Some bullying behaviours are also illegal such as physical and sexual assault, threats of violence and theft and extortion. This option should be self evident but nevertheless needs consideration in the mix of responses.
Full details of the approaches can be found in our book Intervening in Bullying Behaviour: Nine Ways to take Direct Action