One in seven third-level students in Ireland have been affected by bullying, according to a new report.
In the study of almost 400 third-level students, conducted by Liam McGuire of Trinity College’s Anti-Bullying Research Centre, it was revealed that 24 per cent of those bullied reported teaching staff as the perpetrators.
Director of youth organisation SpunOut.ie, Ian Power, doesn’t feel such findings are surprising.
“It’s a part of the transition into college; staff are no longer there to hold your hand,” he said, highlighting that “if comments are made in front of a class, or a student feels victimised or harassed, then there are steps you can take”.
The research also showed that almost two-thirds of participants were unsure whether their college had a policy to tackle bullying, however DCU’s Health Promotion Officer Triona Keane insists such a policy is implemented in the university.
Explaining that there are certain procedures in place to tackle bullying at DCU, she said “if a student is experiencing such problems we can talk through the issues with them and attempt a resolution with the parties involved”.
She advises affected students to first contact their course co-ordinator. “They can establish if bullying has taken place and can intervene and give advice in such situations,” she said.
Over half of those affected, as highlighted in the report, experience exclusionary bullying; a rate much higher than findings at second-level.
Power explained how this type of bullying is common in both colleges and workplaces, saying “people don’t necessarily realise the impact of exclusionary bullying… it starts with cliques in school and it is seen as a form of social power to exclude someone else.
“This type of behaviour then moves into the workplace, only there it is usually more explicit.”
He advises young people who feel subject to this form of abuse to ignore it and try not to let it get to them.
“It’s easier to develop your own friendship network in college through clubs and societies. There’s so many different ways of engaging with people so the best thing to do is surround yourself with better people,” he said.