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 defined bullying as behaviour, that is usually repeated, by one or more persons intentionally to hurt, harm or adversely affect the rights and 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.

Where can I get more advice on Anti – bullying

Sports clubs and activity providers may already have general Anti-Bullying strategies in place, but if not click here for a sample – anti bullying policy or contact your sports own governing body.

Preventing and responding to homophobic bullying should be part of these existing strategies,click here for information on homophobic bullying in sport.

You can also visit information on challenging bullying on the CPSU website or the Education Authority website.

How can sport play a more positive role in the cessation of bullying?

The CPSU and Sport Northern Ireland are calling on all sports organisations working with children, young people and vulnerable groups to support Anti-Bullying Week in November every year.

Anti-Bullying Week is organised by:

- The Anti-Bullying Alliance in England and Wales (supported by the Welsh Government in Wales)

-  Education authority in Northern Ireland

-  respectme, Scotland’s anti-bullying service