School Bullying: Identifying Harmful Relationships with Harassometer

Thursday, November 10 is National Anti-Bullying Day. On this occasion, the Asmae association is launching a new tool: the Harcèlometer to identify healthy and harmful behaviors. Detail.

  School bullying: identifying harmful relationships with school'Harcèlomètre

At school, children can be victims of school harassment . Daily or repeatedly, they suffer humiliations, threats, beatings and they feel excluded. A situation that they conceal for the most part, out of shame and fear of reprisals. And the vicious circle sets in like this: the executioner comforts himself in an increasingly greater and threatening grip, and the victim hides in his silence and isolates himself. The psychological consequences are devastating, and many harassed young people try to put a radical end to their ordeal. The older ones too, moreover, because students in higher education are not spared by the phenomenon, which at the university or in the grandes écoles takes the form of hazing and dangerous and degrading integration rites. In numbers, in France, nearly 1 student in 10 is harassed each year , or out of 12 million students more than a million children and among them, perhaps yours. Hence the importance of raising the awareness of each parent and each child. On the occasion of the national day against school bullying, which takes place this year on Thursday, November 10, the association Sœur Emmanuelle has developed a simple prevention tool, the Harcelometer . The goal ? That young people know how to identify harmful behaviors and distinguish between a respectful relationship, a concerning relationship and a dangerous relationship. The tool takes the form of a frieze that is downloadable and can be used as a bookmark in a notebook, binder or school book so that children have it in front of them when needed. .

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What are the numbers for school bullying?

  • More 700,000 students are victims of school bullying in France, i.e. nearly one in ten children.
  • 60% of 10-15 think that one day they could be victims of harassment, according to a study by the publisher Milan Presse with the CSA institute.
  • According to UNESCO, more than 30% of students worldwide have been bullied.
  • Most of the time, the cases of harassment begin from primary school (12%), while 10% of college students are harassed and 4% in high school.
  • According to the Center Hubertine Auclert, '55% of students in a bullying situation are affected by cyberviolence '. Girls are more exposed to specific forms of cyber-violence, gender-based and sexual. In particular, they are three times more affected by acts of sexting.
  • According to the national school victimization survey carried out in 2017, 1 in 5 girls have been insulted online on her physical appearance and one in 6 girls has experienced sexual cyber-violence related to the sharing of intimate photos or videos.
  • The cyber harassment concern 20% of children , according to the survey carried out by the Audirep institute for Caisse d'Epargne and the association e-Enfance/3018 . It takes shape in primary school, and worsens from middle school.

Films and books to tackle the subject of school bullying

On the subject of bullying at school, there are several references from films and books, for children, adolescents but also adults and families. These mediums can be a good way to put words and images on what harassment is and sometimes to encourage victims to speak up. They are also good resources for people who witness these situations and even for parents, who do not always know how to react when they suspect a change in their child.

What are the different cases of school bullying?

The harassment suffered by a school child can take different forms: it can be physical violence (blows, wounds), psychological (mockery, threats, hurtful gestures and words, etc.), or even sexual. Generally, one or more students - sometimes even adults or teachers - exercise this violence on another student who cannot defend himself. But ' in all these cases of harassment, psychological violence remains omnipresent ', specifies Hélène Romano, psychologist. It is important to also distinguish harassment from violence . Sometimes, it indeed happens that children fight or show a violent attitude, but without the will to harass the other. ' In the case of harassment, there is a notion of duration and intent to harm ' , explains the psychologist. It is in fact a a repeated act, which takes place over time and who is done for the purpose of hurting the other. Moreover, if a person files a complaint for harassment, he will have to prove that this is not the first time that this act has occurred and that it is intentional. Moreover, with the new means of communication, school bullying takes on a new form: cyber harassment .

Where does school bullying take place?

School bullying, as the name suggests, mostly occurs within schools and occurs at all ages. It is a scourge that can take place from primary school, and continue in college and high school. Professional establishments, universities and even grandes écoles are not spared, and hazing rituals have endangered (psychological and/or physical) many young students . Nevertheless, if school bullying begins at school, the traumas it generates do not settle at the foot of the gate at the end of class. These also take place at home, and can impact a child in all areas of his life, wherever he is, even tens of kilometers from his school.

School bullying: what are the signs?

Your child no longer wants to go to school, invents excuses to stay at home, he is marked with bruises, his school things are sometimes damaged, you find him exhausted, he has problems, he isolates himself and no longer wants to invite his classmates to his birthday... So many signs to watch out for. Indeed, a child who is harassed at school often tends not to speak about it to his parents, for fear of disappointing him or for fear of reprisals. Here is 5 signs to look out for when bullying at school:

School bullying: what does the law say?

'The law punishes school bullying , but also school violence and provocation to suicide. Victims can alert the school management and associations. They can also ask the courts to criminally condemn the perpetrator of the harassment and to repair their damage. “, specifies the government.

What are the penalties for school bullying?

School bullying offenders over the age of 13 risk a prison sentence ranging from one year (without aggravating circumstances) to 3 years (with aggravating circumstances), and a fine ranging from 15,000 euros to 45,000 euros. Also, the number of aggravating circumstances determines the penalty incurred, in particular if the victim is under 15 years old, if the perpetrator knew of his vulnerability (physical or mental disability, illness), if the harassment led the victim to more than 8 days missed from school or if the bullying took place online.

School Bullying Offense: What's Changing?

In 2022, the deputies definitively adopted a bill, tabled by the deputy MoDem Erwan Balanant, which acts the creation of the offense of school bullying. This law ' brings a new stone to the building 'and send' a message to the entire Nation: no, harassment has no place in establishments ', welcomed the Minister of National Education Jean-Michel Blanquer. A law also welcomed by the association Hugo! which fights against this scourge. ' Because a man grows to lower himself to the height of a child, I am proud to be a citizen of a country which chooses to close its parliamentary session by examining and definitively adopting a major text which writes the small lines of the history of France, that of our children, and of future generations ', explains its president Hugo Martinez in a press release.

An offense punishable by 3 years in prison

The bill refers to the initial or continuing training of adults, insists on the importance of prevention and provides that digital platforms will be obliged to moderate their content. But its flagship measure is the creation of a specific offense of school harassment which will be punishable by three years' imprisonment and a fine of 45,000 euros when it causes total incapacity for work (ITT) less than or equal to eight days, or even if it has not led to ITT. If the ITT exceeds 8 days, this offense will be liable to ten years imprisonment and a fine of 150,000 euros when the facts have led the victim to commit suicide or to attempt to do so.

How do you talk about bullying with your child?

You should know that a child who is the victim of bullying will not dare or find it difficult to talk about himself to his parents. And even if it is not him who broaches the subject, he will not answer the truth for fear of disappointing. To the question (a little too direct) 'Are you bullied at school? ', the child will answer 'No', or will confirm that everything is going well at school... A way of reassuring those around them who are worried about them. So rather than talking about it too directly with them, Hélène Romano advises talk about how you feel as parent et d' approach the subject in a way that does not involve your child directly: 'I know that in some schools there are cases of bullying... I was wondering if in your school it was the same and if there were children who bothered you sometimes? '. The dialogue must also be constructive, advises the psychologist. The child must understand that he can count on his parents and that in such a case, they would be present to help him, support him, and take the necessary steps to put an end to this harassment.

In this case, the Harcelometer tool can also be useful for discussing this subject with your child.

What if my child is bullied at school?

In the event of harassment of a child at school, parents need to know that they are not alone in their efforts. ' If your child is being bullied at school, it is preferable to include these steps in a medical framework by consulting a health professional who, in conjunction with the school doctor, will examine the child and determine his physical and psychological state ', recommends Hélène Romano, psychologist. The child will then be able to benefit from care and above all from medical and school assistance which will allow him to no longer attend school for a period, just like a sick adult who stops working. Indeed, if the child suffers too much physically or psychologically, the doctor can then establish a report which will allow him to benefit from a Individualized Reception Project (PAI ). This is why it is important to go through a health professional. Following this observation, doctors and parents take stock together with the management of the establishment. If the parents wish to go further, depending on the situation, they can approach advisers at the academic level or mediators at the regional level who can then intervene in the child's school. This relay is therefore important, especially since some schools can sometimes react with denial in the face of cases of harassment, which represent a failure for their establishment.

School bullying and toll-free number: who to contact?

School bullying: Should we change schools or not?

If the child asks to change class or school, yes. It can sometimes be for the good of the child, a way of protecting it (in certain cases). On the other hand, if he makes this request and is refused by forcing him to return to school, it will be all the more difficult for him. Depending on the steps taken, parents can also be helped to change schools. The child can then be given priority to be assigned where he wishes. Parents must then enter the academic directorate of national education services (Dasen) to request a change of institution.

How to sensitize other children, those who harass?

Awareness-raising actions have been implemented in schools by the Ministry of Education, which wishes in particular to improve the training of teachers and the care of families. In addition, when the establishments are willing, workshops allow the subject to be tackled with individualized arrangements. Furthermore, there are several profiles of 'stalkers' :

  • those who have themselves been harassed or who are victims of violence at home;
  • those who go with the flow but are still sorry for the consequences;
  • and finally, the bullies who feel no empathy.

The latter have not integrated social taboos or values ​​of respect and have no sensitivity. Thereby, ' leaders are the most difficult to deal with, but it is important to be able to spot them to better isolate them “, specifies the psychologist. Indeed, when working with other children, the leader then finds himself isolated and can no longer exercise as much power over his victim.

School bullying: testimonials from parents

On the Journal des Femmes, Sandrine *, mother of Jenifer *, confides that she never suspected her daughter of being victim of bullying at school. It all started 4 years ago in CE1. Jenifer had been isolated during recess by CE2 students. Three had her immobilized while three others had pulled down her pants to see the color of her panties . Two years later, then aged 9, Jenifer was again the victim of moral harassment: she experiences repeated teasing, hurtful and aggressive gestures and comments ... ' Even though words don't hit the way blows do, they hurt too “, underlines the mother. One day, when she is pushed to the limit, the little girl isolates herself in the school toilets. She then loosens her belt to hang on the coat rack . Fortunately, two of her classmates who caught her crying alert the supervisors. ' I never could have imagined that my 9-year-old daughter could come to such a gesture, or even that she would suffer moral harassment! I did not see anything ! “, says the mother. Just like my own parents who babysit my daughter every Wednesday. Not even his younger sister who is only 14 months apart. I also remember that the very morning of this event, I asked my daughter if everything was fine, if she liked the school and her new class... She replied 'Yes very well!' with a big smile... The child psychiatrist who then met my daughter clearly explained to me that some children hide their suffering so as not to hurt their loved ones “, she explains. * Interview in 2015. ** Names have been changed.