Yes. Many sports have had to deal with issues and complaints of bullying either by a young person or adult (coach or parent). Complaints and issues of this nature should initially be dealt with by the appropriate club’s Safeguarding Officer.

The Northern Ireland Anti-Bullying Forum  defines bullying; “as the repeated use of power, by one or more persons, intentionally to harm, hurt or adversely affect the rights or needs of another or others”.

It can take many forms, but the three main types are:

  • physical (e.g. hitting, kicking, theft);
  • verbal (e.g. racist or sectarian remarks, threats, name-calling); and
  • emotional (e.g. isolating an individual from the activities and social acceptance of his peer group).

The damage inflicted by bullying can frequently be underestimated. It can cause considerable distress to children to the extent that it affects their health and development or, at the extreme, causes them significant harm (including self-harm or death through suicide).

Sports clubs, governing bodies, and activity providers should take steps to prevent bullying behaviour wherever possible, and to respond to incidents when they occur.