Best Practice

Banter or bullying? Eight signs to look out for

When a student says their behaviour is ‘just banter’ how can you be sure? Ahead of Anti-Bullying Week, Martha Evans considers cues to look out for when deciding if banter has crossed the line

We often hear young people defend hurtful behaviours as “just banter” in order to mask bullying actions. Distinguishing between bullying and banter has been a topic of some discussion for years.

The Anti-Bullying Alliance (ABA) is eager to address this issue and during this year's Anti-Bullying Week – the theme of which is Make a Noise About Bullying – we want to encourage an open discussion about how we can spot the difference between banter and bullying.

Early in my career, I encountered this dilemma during a training session for volunteer sports coaches. I posed the question: “What is the difference between bullying and banter?”

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