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My child is being bullied

About HBT bullying

Homophobic, biphobic and transphobic (HBT) bullying is targeted abuse, usually aimed at children or young people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, or who are questioning their sexual orientation or gender identity (LGBTQ). This kind of bullying can also be aimed at those who others believe are LGBTQ, but who may not be.

Signs your child is being bullied

Bullying usually involves a series of targeted incidents against a young person. You may suspect, or know, that your child is experiencing HBT bullying based on common signs, such as:

  • truancy and not wanting to go to school
  • saying they’re not well when it’s time to go to school
  • being frightened to walk to and from school alone
  • ‘losing’ possessions at school
  • having nightmares and/or bed-wetting
  • changes in behaviour, such as becoming more withdrawn, anxious or aggressive.

Responding to your child

If your child tells you they are being bullied, you should:

  • remain calm
  • encourage them to talk about what is happening
  • take the bullying seriously
  • reassure them that it is not their fault
  • ask your child what they want to happen
  • make sure they are aware of, and agree with, any action you are going to take.

Telling the school about bullying

If the bullying is happening at your child’s school, it is important that staff are made aware as soon as possible – with your child’s agreement.

  • Contact the school as soon as you become aware of the problem and arrange to meet with your child’s class teacher, form tutor or head of year.
  • Try to stay calm and offer to work with the school to resolve the situation. Remember that things are unlikely to be solved instantly, so it is important to continue to work with the school while the bullying is being investigated and dealt with.
  • Encourage your child to record details of any incidents that occur, and what they feel as a result, in a ‘bullying diary’. If they are experiencing the bullying online, help them to save the messages they have received as evidence.

Your child’s school will have a bullying policy that outlines how incidents of bullying should be dealt with. You can usually find this on the school website.

The Education and Inspections Act 2006 puts a duty on school governing bodies to promote the well-being of all children and young people in their care. This includes LGBTQ young people and those who experience HBT bullying.  

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