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Anti Bullying Week

November 13, 2017

Every child has the right to experience sport in a safe environment, free from abuse and bullying.

As in most environments, bullying can and does happen in sport. Sports organisations play an important role in creating a positive club ethos that challenges it.

In a report about children's experiences of sport by the NSPCC (2011), children reported that while 2/3 of bullying behaviour occurred mainly between teammates and peers, 1/3 of those reporting it said coaches were involved, either directly by participating or indirectly by creating an ethos where such behaviour was condoned or not effectively dealt with.

These pages aim to help you ensure that everyone taking part in your sport respects each other and works together to stop bullying, whether it's in your sports setting our outside of it.

How common is bullying?

study of school-aged children (2016) by the Department for Education found that:

  • 40% of young people were bullied in the last 12 months
  • 6% of all young people had experienced bullying behaviour daily and 9% between once a week and once a month
  • the most common form of bullying was name-calling (including via text and email) at 26%, followed by exclusion from social groups at 18%

The impact of bullying in sport

There are a number of different ways the emotional and sometimes physical harm associated with bullying can have an impact on a child’s enjoyment of sport and could prevent them from taking part. These can include:

  • being unable to take part in activities due to physical injury as a result of bullying
  • feeling pressured to perform or over-train due to criticism of a previous performance
  • not wanting to take part for fear of hurtful comments or bullying behaviour surrounding body image
  • experiencing poor wellbeing due to the stress of bullying happening either in or outside of their sport

In addition to the impact it has on individuals, retaliation and escalation of bullying behaviour is often also a risk and can draw other children in to the behaviour, impacting a whole team.

More from the Child Protection in Sport Unit>>