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Good ideas in Anti-Bullying handbook

There are a number of books on bullying behaviour and The Anti-Bullying Handbook 2nd edition by Keith Sullivan is a good one. The reason is the 5 chapters (about 60 pages) devoted to different types of interventions. While aimed at those working in school settings there is lots to learn about interventions that could be used in other situations. Like so many other books it covers defining & describing the problem, planning & implementing a policy to address the issue and preventative strategies.
But when it comes to how to intervene after a case of bullying behaviour is reported Sullivan outshines many other books. Most spend a chapter and provide little practical details on interventions. Or they spend a great deal trying to strengthen the target of bullying and say little about how to intervene to change the bullying behaviour. This book looks at 5 options, mentoring & mediation (for use in conflict situations), the support group method (SGM), circle of friends (COF), Pikas's method of shared concern (MSC) and collaborative problem solving & resolution (CPR).

Each has its own chapter with detail about the approach and examples of use. Of course the book also talks about the disciplinary/consequences approach as well. But it does miss out discussing strengthening the target (for cases of minor behaviour/severity) and the restorative practice (or justice) methods (for those see Rigby, 2010). I also found that the description of the Pikas MSC process was not as Pikas and others describe its use.

Sullivan suggests you start MSC with a statement of fact like "you've have been mean to …." and this is "not accusatory and is intended to get to the bottom of things." I find it hard to believe that you can make a statement like that and not have the target feel accused. The statement of fact is a statement that accuses them. Rigby (2010) describes the process as making statements about how you have noticed the target of bullying behaviour is feeling down and has the suspect noticed anything? Once the suspect says they have, the intervention is to ask them what they could do to help improve the situation. At no time is the suspect blamed or do you try to get to the bottom of it.

Sullivan also discusses the issue of labelling "bullies" and "victims" which is welcome but unfortunately does not really offer anything to help to address the issue. Besides the incorrect description of how MSC is applied, the book is a valuable and useful resource. I would recommend it to anyone dealing with bullying behaviour, even if they are addressing it outside of a school context. There is a lot to learn about the various interventions and this book offers significant help in outlining the options.

Rigby, Ken.(2010) Bullying Interventions in Schools: Six Basic Approaches. Camberwell, Victoria, Australia: ACER press (Note: Rigby's book covers disciplinary, strengthening, mediation, restorative justice, the support group method (SGM) and Pikas's method of shared concern (MSC) approaches and is also recommended)

Also see the report on method of shared concern (MSC) at
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