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Bully Abuse: How Children Harm Other Children

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1 Bully Abuse: How Children Harm Other Children
Values in Action Karen A. Duncan, M.A, LSW, LMFT

2 Karen A. Duncan 2006 Values in Action

3 Widespread effects of bullying
An estimated 160,000 U.S. students miss school each day due to fear of attack or intimidation from peers and other students (National Education Association, 2003). Victimization contributes to truancy, a dislike of school, and school dropout (Duncan, 2004). Karen A. Duncan 2006 Values in Action

4 What children need... Safe and nurturing environments.
Values education that is developmentally appropriate. Cooperation between parents and educators. Karen A. Duncan 2006 Values in Action

5 What is required... Awareness and a concrete definition of the problem of bully abuse. Commitment to meaningful solutions. Individual attention to the child who is the victim. Consistency with the child who bullies. Recognition that witnesses are secondary victims. Karen A. Duncan 2006 Values in Action

6 Giving the problem a name.
Defining Bully Abuse Giving the problem a name.

7 Prevalence of Bullying
The frequency of bullying and the harm that it causes are seriously underestimated by many children and adults (Source: Office of Juvenile Justice, 2001). Karen A. Duncan 2006 Values in Action

8 Defining Bully Abuse Intentionality. Power Imbalance.
A repeated pattern of behavior. Source: Dan Olweus (1993) Karen A. Duncan 2006 Values in Action

9 “I’ve been bullied” Karen A. Duncan 2006 Values in Action

10 Myths about Bullying It toughens kids up! Bullying is not serious!
Fact: Abuse is demeaning and devaluing Fact: Bullying creates victims and offenders. Bullying is not serious! Fact: Bullying causes serious harm that has lasting effects. Fact: Bullying is a serious trauma that is often repeated and continuous. Karen A. Duncan 2006 Values in Action

11 Harm from Bullying Physical injury: bruising, cuts, scratches.
Emotional pain: suicidal thoughts or attempts, fear, self-harm, abandonment, loneliness. Disruption to Education: avoidance of school, inability to achieve goals, inability to concentrate. Mental suffering: anxiety, depression, self-degradation, nightmares. Source: Siris and Osterman, 2004; Whitted and Dupper, 2005; National Education Association. Karen A. Duncan 2006 Values in Action

12 Harm from Bullying Multiple physical health problems that include:
ulcers, migraines, loss of appetite, weight gain, fatigue, stomach aches, eating disorders and substance abuse. Source: American Medical Association, Educational Forum on Adolescent Health, Youth Bullying, 2002. Karen A. Duncan 2006 Values in Action

13 Victim-Blaming Victim-blaming happens when:
There is not a clear definition of bullying. Characteristics of the target are identified as “causing or contributing” to the bully’s behavior. Adults are not comfortable intervening. Adults are biased toward the victim (target). There is not an active “Code of Conduct” in place –Values in Action! Karen A. Duncan 2006 Values in Action

14 “In Meridian, Connecticut a 12 year old hanged himself in his closet with a necktie after being picked on for months at school over his bad breath and body odor” (Scarponi, 2003). Karen A. Duncan 2006 Values in Action

15 Supporting the Victim Provide safety. Restore respect.
Make restitution. Acknowledgement. Support. Follow-up. (Handout: Meeting with Students) Karen A. Duncan 2006 Values in Action

16 Witnessing Bullying Students who observe bullying report that witnessing bullying is severely distressing. (Hoover & Oliver, 1996). Witnesses are often intimidated and fearful that they may become the targets of bullies. (Chandler, et al., 1995). Witnesses may perform poorly in the classroom because their attention is focused on how they can avoid becoming the targets of bullying rather than on academic tasks. (Chandler, et al., 1995) Karen A. Duncan 2006 Values in Action

17 Differentiating Witness from Cohorts
Witnesses are not the same as “cohorts”. Witnesses are secondary victims of bully abuse. They need to experience safety to disclose what they witness. Karen A. Duncan 2006 Values in Action

18 How Children Cope A significant number of children do not tell and they endure the abuse (52%). A majority try to ignore bullying or avoid the bully (27%). Physically retaliate against the bully or bullies (10%). Plan their revenge (2%). Source: American Medical Association, Educational Forum on Adolescent Health, Youth Bullying, 2002. Karen A. Duncan 2006 Values in Action

19 “This is what you get for the way you treated us. ”
“This is what you get for the way you treated us.” quote from Eric Harrison, Columbine High School

20 School Shootings “The Final Report and Findings of the Safe School Initiative: Implications for the Prevention of School Attacks in the United States”. (www.secretservice.gov) United States Secret Service United States Department of Education Report published May 2002 Karen A. Duncan 2006 Values in Action

21 United States Dept of Education Report
Studies school shootings from 1974 through 2000. Identified a total of 37 incidents involving 41 student attackers. Interviewed 10 of the students. Most planned the attack. Their grievances that had been communicated. Karen A. Duncan 2006 Values in Action

22 School Shootings Bullying or other aggressive behaviors had occurred prior to planning the attack. If the aggressive behaviors had occurred in the workplace, they would meet the legal definition of harassment. Conclusion of the study: Bullying played a major role in school shootings. Karen A. Duncan 2006 Values in Action

23 School Shootings Deaths included students, faculty and others at the school (73%). Almost all the attackers were current students (95%) or former students (5%). In 54% of the attacks, the youth had selected at least one administrator, faculty member or staff member as a target. Two-thirds of the youth came from two-parent families (63%). Very few lived with a foster parent or legal guardian (5%). Karen A. Duncan 2006 Values in Action

24 School Shootings The majority of shooters:
White males between the ages of 11 to 21. Doing well in school, receiving A’s and B’s and some were in Advanced Placement courses. Socialized with the mainstream of students. Had never been in trouble or rarely were in trouble at school. Karen A. Duncan 2006 Values in Action

25 School Shootings 71% of the youth reported being persecuted, threatened, attacked or injured by others prior to the shooting (not able to interview the youth who took their own lives). A majority had experienced bullying and harassment that was severe and long-standing. Schoolmates described the youth as “the kid everyone teased.” Karen A. Duncan 2006 Values in Action

26 School Shootings No diagnosis of a mental disorder or involvement in substance abuse. The youth did show: A history of suicidal attempts or thoughts. A history of extreme depression and desperation. A sense of helplessness and hopelessness. Karen A. Duncan 2006 Values in Action

27 Support to Victims Provide immediate support to the victim of bully abuse. Allow them to talk about what happened and how they felt (this may take time and more than one engagement). Ask them what they need to feel safe and their personal integrity restored. Call their parents and inform them what has happened and the school’s response. Follow-up over the next 30 days to assure the bullying has stopped or if further intervention is needed. Karen A. Duncan 2006 Values in Action

28 Understanding Bullying
Education is the Key!

29 Reality of Bully Abuse Most bullies have a positive attitude toward violence (Carney & Merrell 2001; Glew et al., 2000). Bullies have moderate to high self-esteem; a distorted image of themselves (Glew et al., 2000). Karen A. Duncan 2006 Values in Action

30 Bullying & Domestic Violence
26 times more likely to commit sexual assault. 74 times more likely to commit other crimes. (Source: Office of Justice, Crime Victim Survey (2001) Karen A. Duncan 2006 Values in Action

31 Smokowski and Kopasz, 2005 (NASW)
Types of Bully Abuse: Physical – action oriented and uses direct physical means. Verbal – uses words to hurt or humiliate-- it can happen quickly and may be difficult to detect. Relational – convinces peers to exclude and ostracize; derogatory s-text messages. Karen A. Duncan 2006 Values in Action

32 Whitted and Dupper, 2005 (NASW)
Racial: – racial slurs, writing graffiti, mocking the culture of a youth, or making offensive gestures. Sexual: – unwanted sexual attention -passing sexual notes, jokes, pictures, taunts, sexual gestures, starting rumors of a sexual content, or ridiculing sexual orientation. Physical intrusiveness – grabbing private parts, touching in a sexual manner or forcing someone to engage in sexual behaviors. Karen A. Duncan 2006 Values in Action

33 A New Perspective To Intervene with Child Offenders of Bully Abuse
Types of Bullies A New Perspective To Intervene with Child Offenders of Bully Abuse

34 5 Characteristics of Bullies
Commits repeated aggressive behavior. Internalized acceptance of violence. Impaired ability to form meaningful relationships. Exhibits a cruel indifference toward others. Seek status and dominance. Karen A. Duncan 2006 Values in Action

35 Diversity of Bullies Bullies are a more diverse group than previously thought. No one type of bullying behavior. No one type of bully. Interventions are most effective when individualized. Overview of “bully sub-types”. (See Handout On Bully Sub-Types) Karen A. Duncan 2006 Values in Action

36 Bully Sub-Types Figure 1.1 are bully sub-types that were cross-referenced with characteristics from Figure 1.2. Allows for individual focus with a particular bully. Earn trust as behavior changes. Helps to give an operational definition of bullying at your school/organization. Karen A. Duncan 2006 Values in Action

37 Type of Bullying 1. Physically Aggressive Individual Intervention: Frequently commits physical acts of aggression and intimidation. Clear limits on not touching other students. Karen A. Duncan 2006 Values in Action

38 Type of Bully 2. Anger Impaired
Individual Intervention: Low frustration tolerance and poor impulse control. Tai chi and yoga. Tools to increase patience and problem-solving. Karen A. Duncan 2006 Values in Action

39 Type of Bully 3. Victim-Bully (Identifies with the aggressor)
Individual Intervention: Child or teen who was/is a repeat target of a bully. Effective intervention did not take place. Restore safety and personal integrity. Acknowledge victimization. Karen A. Duncan 2006 Values in Action

40 Type of Bully 4. Emotional-Relational (Females)
Individual Intervention: Verbally and emotionally abuses a friend or peer to humiliate and embarrass. Relationship Group with other emotional bullies. Focus on healthy expression of anger and empathy toward others. Gender-based interventions. Karen A. Duncan 2006 Values in Action

41 Type of Bully 5. Status Seeker
Individual Intervention Assess: Sexually aggressive behavior. Often an athlete or other youth who has been given special status by adults. Believes self to be privileged and code of conduct does not apply. Coaches, teachers and parents are important to target for intervention. Remove from privileges for 30 days. Karen A. Duncan 2006 Values in Action

42 Type of Bully 6. Developmental Individual Intervention Assess: Acts out when making a transition to a new school or grade in order to cope and fit in with peers. A Group to help with socialization skills. Assess for anxiety or depression. Assess for previous victimization. Special needs. Karen A. Duncan 2006 Values in Action

43 Bully Sub-Types 7. Attention-seeking Individual Intervention Assess:
Child or teen who feels ignored or left out and wants to gain attention from peers or control the attention he or she receives. Teacher makes an effort to recognize strengths in the classroom. Give a responsibility to raise status. An older student to mentor the youth. Support within the home. Karen A. Duncan 2006 Values in Action

44 Values in Action Code of Conduct

45 Code of Conduct The cornerstone of a meaningful prevention education program. Integrated throughout the daily lives of youth. Emulated by educators and parents. Reinforced consistently. Shaping values, beliefs and behavior. Karen A. Duncan 2006 Values in Action

46 Values in Action Reporting bullying is the goal with witnesses and victims. Honoring the Code of Conduct. Not condoning violence and aggression. Respect, safety and courtesy is expected. Adults are willing to step in and take action. Karen A. Duncan 2006 Values in Action

47 Code of Conduct In writing and posted throughout the school.
Discussed during regularly scheduled assemblies and other meetings with youth. Discussed during informal forums—prior to a game, during club activities. Distribute to parents, faculty and staff. Consequences of bullying in writing. Karen A. Duncan 2006 Values in Action

48 Examples: Code of Conduct
We treat others with respect and courtesy. No one touches anyone else. Name calling is disrespectful and not allowed. Regard for each other’s personal and emotional space. Compliment each other. Everyone is included and no one is left out. Karen A. Duncan 2006 Values in Action

49 Guidelines A Code of Conduct for Staff, Faculty and Parents.
How staff are to interact with students and parents. How parents are to interact with faculty and staff. Example: “Sarcasm is not an acceptable form of communication”. Karen A. Duncan 2006 Values in Action

50 Example of 3-Tier Consequences:
Code of Conduct: “No Name Calling”: 1st consequence requires a written apology and a call to the parent. 2nd consequence requires a written apology, parent conference and a student group to review the Code of Conduct. 3rd consequence requires a verbal and written apology, parent conference, and loss of privileges at school for two weeks. Karen A. Duncan 2006 Values in Action

51 Comprehensive Prevention Program:
Survey to assess bully abuse. Types of Bullies. Written Code of Conduct & Consequences (3-Tier; Age Specific). Code of Conduct Educational Group Consistently distributed and discussed. Meeting with Students. Support to Victims Differentiate Witnesses from Cohorts Meeting with Parents. Prevention Education and Program Awareness. Guidelines that are followed. (Developed by Karen A. Duncan) Karen A. Duncan 2006 Values in Action

52 The Role of Parents Discuss with parents on how to respond to their children who experience bully abuse: Listen and understand the bullying experience. Be involved at the school as their child’s advocate. Resources on the school web-site and at parent conferences Karen A. Duncan 2006 Values in Action

53 The Role of Parents Inform parents when their child or teen has engaged in bullying. Reinforce the Code of Conduct. Explain the immediate consequence and future consequences if there is a reoccurrence. Ask what assistance they need from you. Encourage parents not to use physical punishment. Stay calm, firm, direct and reinforce the behavior that is expected. Karen A. Duncan 2006 Values in Action

54 Closing Thoughts

55 Components of Success Leadership. Cooperation. Commitment.
Financial Resources. Sustainability. Gratitude. Karen A. Duncan 2006 Values in Action

56 What Kids Need… Karen A. Duncan 2006 Values in Action

57 Margaret Meade, Anthropologist
“Never doubt that a small group of committed individual can make a difference; indeed it is the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Meade, Anthropologist

58 Send Questions and Comments to: www.theright2besafe.org
Thank you! Send Questions and Comments to:


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