In colloquial speech, bullying is most often used to describe a form of harassment associated with being performed by a child who is older, stronger, or otherwise more powerful socially, upon weaker peers. Bullying can occur in situations including in school or college/university, the workplace, by neighbours, and between countries. Whatever the situation the power structure is typically evident between the bully and victim. It seems to those outside the relationship that the bully's power depends only upon the perception of the victim, with the victim being too intimidated to put up effective resistance. However the victim usually has just cause to be afraid of the bully due to the threat ...view middle of the document...
Bullying is now one of the most contentious issues in the occupational health and safety arena.
Cyberbullying is bullying through the internet, e.g. in a blog.
In the 1990s, the United States saw an epidemic of school shootings (of which the most notorious was the Columbine High School massacre). Many of the children behind these shootings claimed that they were the victims of bullies and that they resorted to violence only after the school administration repeatedly failed to intervene. In many of these cases, the victims of the shooters sued both the shooters' families and the schools.
Since media coverage has exposed just how widespread is bullying, juries are more likely now to sympathize with victims. In recent years, many victims have been suing bullies directly for intentional infliction of emotional distress, and including their school as a defendant under the principle of joint and several liability.
As a result of all these trends, schools in many countries strongly discourage bullying, with programs designed to teach students cooperation, as well as training peer moderators in intervention and dispute resolution techniques.
However, with respect to workplaces, there are few localities that are governed by legislation which specifically targets workplace bullying. This is because lawmakers fear that those rules could be used as leverage in other industrial or interpersonal matters. Therefore most bullying claims are conducted under discrimination laws.
Bullying in the family is normally ignored by society unless it includes a form of physical/sexual abuse. Once it does outside parties such as the police and social services can get involved if the victim speaks up, or if the abuse has gone too far - the victim is in hospital or dead.
Between neighbours bullying normally takes the form of intimidation by nuisance behaviour, such as excessive noise to disturb sleep and normal living patterns, and reports to authorities such as the police for minor or made up incidents. The purpose of this form of behaviour is to make the victim so uncomfortable they move from their property. It should be noted that not all nuisance behaviour is bullying, as some individuals are unaware of other people's feelings and the havoc they are causing.
Bullying between countries occurs when a more powerful country such as a superpower decides to make a smaller one do its bidding. This is normally done with military...