Anti-Bullying Training: The Bullying Roles

by | Aug 3, 2018

Anti-Bullying Training: What Are the Roles in a Bullying Situation?

The Anti-Bullying Alliance provides a fantastic free online Anti-Bullying training. It’s a fantastic training to take in preparation for Anti-Bullying Week 2018: Choose Respect.

One section of the training focuses on the different roles in a bullying situation. Traditionally we think of bullying as having a victim and a bully. This is often how bullying is depicted in the media.

However often bullying is a ‘group powered’ behaviour. The Anti-Bullying Alliance training provides a more detailed description of the other roles involved in a bullying situation:

Bully/Ringleader: Someone in a bullying role could also be described as a ringleader. They are the student who starts the bullying, but they may also encourage others to engage in bullying behaviours.

Enforcer: This role encourages and validates the bully’s behaviour. This could be through laughing or copying the behaviours.

Assistant: This person provides physical help to the bully. This could mean they carry out a behaviour that they are asked to do by the ringleader. This could be writing a note or keeping look out for a teacher.

This more detailed view of a group bullying dynamic provides a clearer understanding of how bullying situations can escalate. When people in the Enforcer and Assistant roles join in, the bully’s sense of power increases and their behaviour is validated. This leads them to escalate their behaviours and the bullying can get worse.

Out of these roles, the majority of students would be in an Enforcer or Assistant role. There are less students taking on the role of a Ringleader. This is why in our Anti-Bullying Workshops for primary schools we teach KS2 students about the importance of being an Upstander and the power that an individual has to change a situation. It’s important that students understand bullying situations get worse not only because of the person in the bully role, but also because of other students encouraging the behaviour by taking on Enforcer and Assistant roles.

In our Anti-Bullying Role-Play Workshop for KS2 students, we teach this concept through the idea of becoming an Upstander. Teaching this idea at KS2 level prepares students for transition into secondary school, they will be better equipped to deal with any bullying situations they face in the future.

We will be touring schools with our Anti-Bullying Workshops and Shows for primary schools this September and November in Greater London and beyond. If you’d like to find out more about these workshops click here.

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