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Should Bullying Be Classed As A Criminal Offence?

25th Mar 2019

Bullying is a serious problem in today’s society, but are the measures set in place suitable enough or should more be done to protect those who are bullied?

There are many suicides as a result of bullying so should this make us wonder whether these bullies should be getting more than just a warning and telling off for terrorising someone and possibly leading them to a future filled with anxiety and depression?

As bullying is not yet classed as a specific offence, many parents across the UK are debating whether laws and regulations need to be tighter. Around 44% of child suicides are related to bullying which is why it’s such a massive topic of discussion.

All schools have an ‘anti-bullying policy’ but the extent to which some schools take it is completely down to that particular institution. While many schools will take bullying extremely seriously, others sometimes ‘play down’ the situation until it appears to have “fizzled out”.

There are a number of online campaigns that insist that bullying should be made a criminal offence – but before anything is set in stone and taken higher, the pros and cons need to be analysed.

Firstly, bullying leaves lifelong emotional scars and sometimes even physical damage to a person. A number of people deliberate this being the primary reasoning for the whole campaign for stricter laws. Some people insist that yes, bullying can get really out of hand, a life is lost, therefore, you go to prison for manslaughter or murder. After all, if you kill someone by another means, you will go to prison for manslaughter or murder – however, is this the same thing?

One of the growing forms of bullying is cyber-bullying, which is an area that many campaigners are trying to deal with. On social media sites the easiest way to avoid cyber-bullying would be to block the person but this doesn’t get justice for the person being bullied. Internet trolls are surfacing daily, commenting and taunting whoever they can, 24/7, with their hateful, vile comments – yet in most situations, nothing more than suspending their accounts is done.

So, back to the initial question, should bullying be a criminal offence? Well many people believe that yes it should be as it gets so out of hand that lives are lost. This is a huge, huge issue but whatever you believe, more needs to be done as over half of the UK’s children and young people are being bullied – many with devastating consequences.


Bethan Fry, March 2019

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