Bullying is never OK.

Bullying is often used interchangeably with the term harassment by individuals and organisations.

Although there's no standardised legal definition of bullying as there is for harassment there are similarities. Both bullying and harassment relate to unwanted behaviour that hurts or causes harm to another person or group. They both involve an imbalance of power and can include behaviour that is carried out in person or online.

Where harassment differs is that it is defined in as being unlawful conduct, and relates to behaviour based on a person's protected characteristics. See our article What is Harassment? for further information.

So what is bullying?

The Anti-Bullying Alliance defines bullying as: "the repetitive, intentional hurting of one person or group by another person or group, where the relationship involves an imbalance of power. It can happen face to face or online."

ACAS (employment) describes bullying as unwanted behaviour from a person or group that is either:
  • offensive, intimidating, malicious or insulting
  • an abuse or misuse of power that undermines, humiliates, or causes physical or emotional harm to someone
Bullying can involve offensive, intimidating, malicious or insulting behaviour.

It can consist of belittling remarks, domineering relationships, misrepresenting or exaggerating situations, abuse of power in a position of authority, sustained undeserved criticism, constant interruption in discussion or overbearing behaviour. 

It often involves the misuse of power, although this does not necessarily mean the person carrying out the bullying needs to be a position of authority. 

Power can be assumed: it may include personal dominance or physical strength, using perceived positions of hierarchy or gaining power using coercion through fear or intimidation.

Bullying can make a person feel vulnerable, upset, humiliated, undermined or threatened.

Bullying can take the form of physical, verbal and non-verbal conduct. Non-verbal conduct includes postings on social media. 

Bullying may include the following behaviours:
  • shouting at, being sarcastic towards, ridiculing or demeaning others
  • making physical or psychological threats
  • overbearing and intimidating levels of supervision
  • inappropriate and/or derogatory remarks about someone's performance
  • spreading rumours
  • sending or posting nasty or offensive messages
  • abuses of authority or power
  • deliberately excluding someone from a group or activity without good reason
Bullying contravenes the Academy Student Charter and CUKSN Respect Policy.

Could the bullying actually be harassment or stalking? Read our support articles for further information:

What is Harassment?
What is Stalking?

Internal support

What help and support can you access internally?

We understand that bullying can be psychological, verbal, physical and carried out online (also called cyberbullying). The effects of bullying can impact people in different ways and may cause stress, anxiety, fear and even physical symptoms or self-harm.

Remember, you are not to blame.

We are here to listen, to understand and to support you to access the help that you need. What this looks like will be individual to you. We recognise you may need urgent access to a range of support to feel safe so there are links in this article to advice and information.

Reach out through Report + Support to discuss with an advisor.

The counselling team are also available and can be contacted on 020 7873 7303 (9am to 5pm) or by email counsellor@ram.ac.uk

External support

Anti-Bullying Alliance provides support and guidance
National Bullying Helpline - 0300 323 0169 (9am to 5pm Monday to Friday) - information and advice for anyone dealing with bullying
Help Musicians - 0800 088 2045 a helpline for those working in the music industry concerned about bullying or harassment.

There are two ways you can tell us what happened