Has your child witnessed acts of violence or bullying?

If your child confides in you and tells you about the situation, it is important to say that he or she has a major role to play, one that can help the victim.

You too have a role to play.

Listen attentively to your child and advise him or her on what to do:

  • Tell your child that it's normal to feel uneasy in this situation and that he or she was right to talk to you about it.
  • Explain to your child that bullies need an audience. Without one, they have less power.
  • Tell your child that he or she has a major role to play in the situation and that his or her reactions can encourage or discourage the perpetrator.
  • Tell your child that direct intervention is an option if it is likely that he or she can count on the support of other witnesses. If not, he or she can go talk to an adult.
  • Remind your child that it is important to report acts of violence and bullying. Make it clear that coming to someone's assistance in such a situation doesn't make a person a "snitch."
  • Suggest that your child tell a trusted adult in the school (e.g. teacher, psychologist, school counsellor, coach, school caretaker, monitor).
  • Remind your child that he or she can always talk to someone in the principal's office to report acts of violence and bullying.
  • Ask your child if he or she would like any help from you in doing what needs to be done.  

Advise your child on what to do if he or she witnesses acts of violence or bullying:

  • Tell your child to ignore the perpetrator(s) and to avoid all contact with them.
  • Advise your child to speak out against violent or bullying remarks if he or she feels up to doing so. Your child can also join with friends to put a stop to harmful behaviour.
  • Tell your child to always refuse to send or forward any image, video or message that may be harmful to someone.
  • Remind your child that it is important to denounce acts of violence or bullying he or she has witnessed, even if your child was not directly involved. The victim will most likely be very grateful, and your child will have acted responsibly. 

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