The courage to understand and take action

Guide to the phenomenon of bullying

With its expertise and presence in seven Montreal neighbourhoods, Pact de rue has just published a guide on bullying. The street workers of this Montreal NPO, girls and boys, are well aware of the problems associated with this issue among both the aggressors and the aggressees. It was on the basis of this direct experience that they were able to deconstruct the phenomenon and, with the financial support of the Ministère de la Famille du Québec, produce a guide for all youth intervenors, particularly in the school setting.

Bullying is physical or psychological violence that is intentionally and repeatedly committed by one person against another for the purpose of injuring or humiliating them. It is its intentional and repeated nature that distinguishes bullying from other forms of violence.

The guide breaks down the different forms of bullying: open when it is physical or verbal, and hidden when it expresses itself socially in a more subtle and roundabout way, but with the same devastating effects. The guide explains who the players are, their roles, active or passive, their motivations. For bullies and bullied alike, it is sometimes difficult to escape the role that characterizes their actions.

The portrait created by the Pact de rue team has the advantage of revealing the characteristics of each of the roles and providing witnesses with levers to break the bullying mechanism. It also describes very well the impact of harassment and bullying on victims. Finally, this guide discusses ways to combat bullying by identifying difficulties in reporting such behaviour and clearly distinguishing between the terms denouncing and snitching.

The guide is written in clear language that borrows from the vocabulary of young people. It situates every player in this unhealthy ecosystem and proposes concrete solutions to defuse this phenomenon, on which it is necessary to intervene as early as possible in the lives of young people. This is to avoid internalization of the role by victims and a sophistication of how to use bullying and harassment among aggressors, as they will over time find more subtle mechanisms to continue to exert their power.

Pact de rue, through its Director, Robert Paris, has agreed to disseminate this necessary and useful guide in the shared area of the FDG site. Do not hesitate to share it with those who work with young people and with young people themselves, since they are, regardless of their role, the real actors in this game whose consequences are all too often dramatic.