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Why don't children tell?

Over 16,000 children from primary and secondary schools in Strathclyde, Scotland were asked about bullying. Children who were bullied explained why they find it difficult to report bullying to an adult. The main reasons are: being afraid of what the bully might do if he/she found out; not wanting to be thought of as a tell-tale; not wanting to cause their parents anxiety; feeling bad about not being able to stand up for themselves and also being worried about losing friends.
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Article details

A McLean (1994) 'Background Reading for Schools', Book 8 in the pack 'Bullyproofing Our School. Promoting Positive Relationships', Strathclyde Regional Council, Department of Education. This article can be viewed here.
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Alan McLeanAuthor details

At the time of this study, Alan McLean was Principal Psychologist based at the Education Department Psychological Service in the former Strathclyde Regional Council. His particular interests in the area of bullying include: links between bullying and motivation; the thinking processes and self-esteem of the bully.

He can be contacted at by email.

Studies have found that there are a number of reasons why children don't tell when they are being bullied. One reason is pressure from peers not to 'tell tales'. Another is a feeling that bullying is inevitable and that nothing can be done about it. There is also the fear of what the bullies might do if they found out. The other reason mentioned is that being bullied can make victims feel hopeless and feeling this way it would be even harder for the bullied child to tell.
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Article details

K Sullivan (2000) 'The Anti-Bullying Handbook', Oxford and New Zealand: Oxford University Press. For order details see here.
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Author details

Dr Keith Sullivan is based at the School of Education at Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand. Over a number of years he has been involved in anti-bullying research in New Zealand, Australia and the UK.
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