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The importance of measuring bullying in schools

Professor Dieter Wolke on bullying definitions, challenges for schools and our new Child Relationship Survey
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16/2/2022
by
BounceTogether and Professor Dieter Wolke

BounceTogether is proud to announce a new partnership with Professor Dieter Wolke, Developmental Psychology and Individual Differences, University of Warwick.

We have teamed up with Professor Wolke to provide exclusive access to his Child Relationship Survey for schools through the BounceTogether platform. It is now even easier for schools to monitor and understand their community’s experience of bullying.

Ranked #2 worldwide for his research in the topic of bullying, Professor Wolke has been studying the subject for over 28 years and currently heads-up the Lifespan Health and Wellbeing Group at the University of Warwick.

We caught up with him to discuss his research, the challenges schools face in understanding their community's experience of bullying, the impact that sibling bullying has in school and how the Child Relationship Survey can help.

What is bullying?

The recognised definition of bullying as articulated by the Anti-Bullying Alliance and its partners is:

“The repetitive, intentional hurting of one person or group by another person or group, where the relationship involves an imbalance of power.”

Taking this one step further, Professor Wolke’s research looks at nuances of the bullying relationship by distinguishing between different types of bullying behaviours as well as different categories of bully.

In doing so, the research gives a richer understanding of the bullying relationship and its effects on the victim and ways that this can be addressed.

Cyberbullying

According to Professor Wolke’s research, 85% of those bullied online are also bullied at school face to face.  Here, Professor Wolke discusses cyberbullying as an extension to bullying in the classroom, rather than an online attack on strangers.

Sibling Bullying and Schools

Professor Wolke’s more recent research has centred around what he describes as “the last taboo”- sibling bullying. His studies indicate that a shocking 40% of children have experienced sibling bullying with the effects on mental health similar to those who are bullied at school.

But what does sibling bullying have to do with schools?

As Professor Wolke puts it, “children do not exist in boxes”. Importantly, his research highlights the trend that children who experience bullying in the home are more likely to face bullying at school. And, for children who experience bullying both at home and at school, the mental health outcomes are far worse.

This video touches upon why it’s important for schools to understand children’s experience of bullying in the home.

Effects of bullying on mental health

The effects of bullying on mental health for children are well-documented. In this video, Professor Wolke talks through the key statistics on the three main mental health outcomes for victims as well as emerging evidence on the effect on relationships into adulthood.

Challenges for schools and how to overcome them

With 30-40%of children who are victimised at school never disclosing their experiences of bullying to parents or teachers, one of the main challenges for schools is understanding the extent of the problem.

So how do schools overcome this and other challenges, and how can the Child Relationship Survey help?

Proven Interventions

Here, Professor Wolke shares his experience of whole-school interventions, including the Dan Oweus and the KiVa programmes, as well as restorative approaches that support victims of bullying.

 

Watch Professor Wolke’s interview in full

Interested in running the Child Relationship Survey? Find out more and download a free paper survey.

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