Author Archives: antiharassment

People’s Enquiry on Stalking Welcomed

Peter Wakeham of Anti-Harassment welcomes the news that anti-stalking laws are to be improved. Our experience has shown a woeful lack of interest by the police and a great reluctance by the target to report stalking to the authorities, which afterall is only another form of bullying.

Here’s a piece from the Press Association dated 18th June 2011:-
A “people’s inquiry” has been launched to help reform anti-stalking laws.
MPs and peers will focus on cyber-stalking, where victims are harassed through their mobile phones and online, and consider whether the existing laws in England and Wales are tough enough.

Elfyn Llwyd MP, chairman of the Justice Unions Parliamentary Group, will lead the inquiry which also aims to tackle “society’s lenient attitude towards stalking”.
A series of charities called for anti-stalking laws to be strengthened in April to stop cases leading to violence, rape and murder.

A stalkers register should be set up, they said, with police given specialist training to identify victims and deal with offences.

Up to five million people a year suffer from stalking or harassment and many victims will experience up to 100 incidents before talking to the police, British Crime Survey figures show.

Last year, prosecutors said stalkers were using GPS tracking technology and mobile phone applications to track their victims. The tactic, already seen in the United States, involves using websites and apps to pinpoint victims’ locations using their mobile phones.

So-called cyber-stalking is becoming even more of a problem than traditional stalking in Britain, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said.

Mr Llwyd, a Plaid Cymru MP, said: “Around one in five people will experience stalking in the UK in their lifetime and unfortunately what we are now seeing is a growing trend in cyber-stalking.

“Internet and mobile phone usage is constantly on the increase, and with the advent of numerous social networking sites, this type of harassment has, unfortunately, become a very real problem.”

http://uk.news.yahoo.com/anti-stalking-laws-inquiry-launched-011814341.html

If any of our readers is suffering stalking please contact us here by email antiharassment@btinternet.com or leave a comment or if your situation is urgent please call us on 07810 025818.
Many thanks.

Tim Field Interviewed by Bully at Work

By: Sam Vaknin, Ph.D.

Make Bullying A Crime totally agrees with the comments made in Tim Field’s
interview – we have always found Tim to be an enormous inspiration for all those people defending themselves against bullies everywhere. Please let us know what you think of this interview.

In 1994 Tim Field was bullied out of his job as a Customer Services Manager which resulted in a stress breakdown. Turning his experience to good use he set up the UK National Workplace Bullying Advice Line in 1996 and his web site Bully Online in 1997 since which time he has worked on over 5000 cases worldwide. He now lectures widely as well as writing and publishing
books on bullying and psychiatric injury. He holds two honorary doctorates for
his work on identifying and dealing with bullying. He is the Webmaster of Bully Online.

Question: What is workplace bullying?

Answer:
Workplace bullying is persistent, unwelcome, intrusive behaviour of one or
more individuals whose actions prevent others from fulfilling their duties.

Question: How is it different to adopting disciplinarian measures, maintaining strict supervision, or oversight?

Answer:
The purpose of bullying is to hide the inadequacy of the bully and has nothing to do with management” or the achievement of tasks. Bullies project their
inadequacies onto others to distract and divert attention away from the
inadequacies. In most cases of workplace bullying reported to the UK National
Workplace Bullying Advice Line, the bully is a serial bully who has a history
of conflict with staff. The bullying that one sees is often also the tip of an
iceberg of wrongdoing which may include misappropriation of budgets,
harassment, discrimination, as well as breaches of rules, regulations,
professional codes of conduct and health and safety practices.

Question: Should it be distinguished from harassment (including sexual harassment), or stalking?

Answer:
Bullying is, I believe, the underlying behaviour and thus the common
denominator of harassment, discrimination, stalking and abuse. What varies
is
the focus for expression of the behaviour. For instance, a harasser or
discriminator focuses on race or gender or disability.

Bullies focus on competence and popularity which at present are not covered by
employment legislation.

Bullies seethe with resentment and anger and the conduits for release of this inner anger are jealousy and envy which explains why bullies pick on employees who are good at their job and popular with people. Being emotionally immature, bullies crave attention and become resentful when others get more attention for their competence and achievements than themselves.

Question: What is the profile of the typical bully?

Answer:
Over 90% of the cases reported to the UK National Workplace Bullying Advice
Line involve a serial bully who can be recognised by their behaviour profile
which includes compulsive lying, a Jekyll and Hyde nature, an unusually
high
verbal facility, charm and a considerable capacity to deceive, an arrested
level of emotional development, and a compulsive need to control. The serial
bully rarely commits a physical assault  or an arrestable offence, preferring instead to remain within the realms of psychological violence and non-arrestable offences.

Question: What are bullying’s typical outcomes?

Answer:
In the majority of cases, the target of bullying is eliminated through forced
resignation, unfair dismissal, or early or ill- health retirement whilst the
bully is promoted. After a short interval of between 2-14 days, the bully
selects another target and the cycle restarts. Sometimes another target is
selected before the current target is eliminated.

Question: Can you provide us with some statistics? How often does bullying occur? How many people are affected?

Answer:
Surveys of bullying in the UK indicate that between 12-50% of the workforce
experience bullying. Statistics from the UK National Workplace Bullying Advice
Line reveal that around 20% of cases are from the education sector, 12% are from healthcare, 10% are from social services, and around 6% from the voluntary / charity / not-for-profit sector.

After that, calls come from all sectors both public and private, with finance,
media,
police, postal workers and other government employees featuring
prominently.

Enquiries from outside the UK (notably USA, Canada, Australia and Ireland) how similar patterns with the caring professions topping the list of bullied workers.

Question: Could you estimate the economic effects of workplace bullying – costs to employers (firms), employees, law enforcement agencies, the courts, the government, etc.?

Answer:
Bullying is one of the major causes of stress, and the cost of stress to UK plc
is thought to be between £5-12 billion. When all the direct, indirect and consequential costs of bullying are taken into account, the cost to UK plc (taxpayers and shareholders) could be in excess of £30 billion equivalent to around £1,000 hidden tax per working adult per year.

Employers do not account for the cost of bullying and its consequences, therefore the figures never appear on balance sheets.

Employees have to work twice as hard to overcome the serial bully’s inefficiency and dysfunction which can spread through an organisation like a cancer.

Because of its subtle nature, bullying can be difficult to recognise, but the
consequences are easy to spot: excessive workloads, lack of support, a
climate
of fear, and high levels of insecurity.

The effects on health include, amongst other things, chronic fatigue, damage to
the
immune system, reactive depression, and suicide.

The indirect costs of bullying include higher-than average staff turnover and
sickness absence. Each of these incur consequential costs of staff cover,
administration, loss of production and reduced productivity which are rarely recognised and even more rarely attributed to their cause. Absenteeism alone
costs UK plc over £10 billion a year and stress is now officially the number
one cause of sickness absence having taken over from the common cold.

However, surveys suggest that at least 20% of employers still do not regard stress as a health and safety issue, instead preferring to see it as skiving and malingering.

The Bristol Stress and Health at Work Study published by the HSE in June 2000 revealed that 1 in 5 UK workers (around 5.5m) reported feeling extremely
stressed at work. The main stress factors were having too much work and not
being supported by managers. In November 2001 a study by Proudfoot
Consulting
revealed the cost of bad management, low employee morale and poorly-trained staff to British business at 117 lost working days a year. At 65%, bad management (often a euphemism for bullying) accounted for the biggest slice of unproductive days with low morale accounting for 17%. The study also suggested that in the UK 52% of all working time is spent unproductively compared to the European average of 43%.

The results of a three-year survey of British workers by the Gallup Organization published in October 2001 revealed that many employers are not getting the best from their employees. The most common response to questions such as “how engaged are your employees?” and “how effective is your leadership and management style?” and “how well are you capitalising on the talents, skills and knowledge of your people?” was an overwhelming “not very
much”. The survey also found that the longer an employee stayed, the less
engaged they became. The cost to UK plc of lost work days due to lack of
engagement was estimated to be between £39-48 billion a year.

Question: What can be done to reduce workplace bullying? Are firms, the government, law enforcement agencies, the courts – aware of the problem and its magnitude? Are educational campaigns effective? Did anti-bullying laws prove effective?

Answer:
Most bullying is hierarchical and can be traced to the top or near the top. As
bullying is often the visible tip of an iceberg of wrongdoing, denial is the most common strategy employed by toxic managements. Only Sweden has a law
which
specifically addresses bullying. Where no law exists, bullies feel free to
bully. Whilst the law is not a solution, the presence of a law is an indication
that society has made a judgement that the behaviour is no longer acceptable.

Awareness of bullying, and especially its seriousness, is still low throughout
society.
Bullying is not just “something children do in the playground”, it’s
a lifetime behaviour on the same level as domestic violence, sexual harassment, and rape.

Bullying is a form of psychological and emotional rape because of its intrusive and violational nature.

Workplace Bullying: Blowing the Whistle on Conspiracies of Silence

Posted on 14 January 2011 by Jennifer Wilson in Society an article written by Dr Stewart Hase.

Australian Dr Stewart Hase is a registered psychologist and has a doctorate in organisational behaviour as well as a BA, Diploma of Psychology, and a Master of Arts (Hons) in psychology.

Please note any references to bullying being illegal refers to Australian Law as bullying in the UK is NOT illegal (yet)!

There is a conspiracy of silence when it comes to workplace bullying. In the many thousands of words recently written about bullying at work in the local press the conspiracy has been maintained.

A conspiracy of silence occurs when everyone knows that bad behaviour is
occurring but there is a tacit decision not to talk about it and certainly not to do anything. It was first used to describe incest in families and, more recently, other forms of abuse. People don’t do anything because they don’t want to rock the boat, to avoid conflict, and because it is just too hard. Sadly, by not speaking up or doing anything the observers validate the perpetrator and invalidate the victim.

As I have often seen in clinical practice, the effect of these conspiracies on the victims is monstrous. The victim feels as if he or she is somehow at fault, they are confused, and feel alone and unsupported. Most importantly they come to feel powerless and it is this that results in anxiety and depression, the most common effects of being bullied.

In all that is written about bullying at work there are two major conspiracies of silence that result in enormous pain and suffering for victims. It also seems that workmates who see the bullying can also be badly affected resulting in significant symptoms on their part too.

The first gaping silence is that senior managers in organisations prefer not to do anything about bullies. This conspiracy of silence occurs despite the fact that bullying is against the law and CEOs and boards of directors are in fact culpable by not acting. It is interesting to watch an organisation move a victim of bullying to another branch or even another job, and leave the bully in place: even after admitting openly that the bullying has occurred. Sometimes, it is easier to call a case of bullying a personality conflict and call in a mediator. The damage these behaviours do to the victim is enormous.

It’s also common to blame the victim. This is easy because the bullied worker has repeatedly made complaints, as instructed by the legislation and the bullying literature that is laying on the coffee table in the CEO’s waiting area. The victim, who has become increasingly distressed over time, can be simplistically labelled as unstable or over-sensitive: a troublemaker. Let’s not forget too that bullies often pick on already vulnerable people who might have a reputation already for being oversensitive.

There have been some notorious bullies in organisations in and around Lismore that have been allowed to get away with bullying behaviour time and time again: I have seen many of their victims at the clinic. Many of these bullies get promoted. There are also large numbers of senior managers that know that their staff are being bullied but do nothing. Under the legislation they are just as culpable as the bully and their organisation can be fined many thousands of dollars. But they still engage in the conspiracy and more often than not put the fox in charge of the chook shed.

The preferred personality profile of a successful manager (or one on the way up) appears to be someone who is aggressive, dominant, single minded, achievement-oriented, and task focused. Throw in a little pinch of narcissism, low empathy for others and an unsatisfied need for power and this is a nasty recipe for bullying behaviour.

These are not easy people to deal with which makes it so much easier to turn the blind eye. Bullies often appear so good at their job and they create the right relationships with the right people to protect themselves.

And it happens every day in organisations in which we all work. In a recent case a colleague of mine was told by the human resource manager of her organisation that it would be better to let a case of bullying drop because it was against a very senior manager. The reason being that the consequences would not be worth it in the end.

The other conspiracy involves an unholy alliance between the organisation and the insurance company. Despite the pretty advertisements insurance companies want to avoid liability. To do this they will find any excuse to blame the victim rather than make the workplace deal with the problem. Everyone’s a winner: the insurance company doesn’t have to pay out and the organisation’s premiums are protected.

The main way this is done is to find a pre-existing condition in the victim such as a history of previous abuse, anxiety, depression, previous bullying or any other negative behaviour. This is then used as a means of blaming the victim. This is easy to do by running an unbalanced investigation and being highly selective with ‘the evidence’. For someone who has genuinely been bullied at work this outcome is extremely damaging.

It is time for the conspiracies of silence to be broken. Those with the power to act need to make the hard decision and deal with the perpetrator rather than leaving it up to the victim who is already disempowered.

Stewart blogs at stewarthase.blogspot.com

Email Comments

  1. gerard oosterman says: January 14, 2011 at4:06 am

While the bullies might resist in their tactics by being exposed for what they are, even better would be prevention from them being spawned in the first place. I feel that the way of the inherited English type of schools encouraging hierarchies amongst students by appointing prefects and the like might often encourage the grooming of bullies.

The insane over the top of winning at all costs, especially in sporting events, again at school level also could well be a catalyst for bad behaviour.

Certainly amongst adult sport people, the raping and glassing of girlfriends, night club bashing, and drug taking seems to be almost the order of the day. They are seen almost daily on TV in sport courts, smiling as they come out, only to start all over again next day, bashing someone. “It is normal”.

Finally, our own government is hardly setting a good example by their own
form of bullying in ‘sending the boats back’, their tacit approval of naming
them ‘illegal asylum seekers’, the setting up of inhumane Baxter detention
centres.

All with the blessing of our government.

I wonder if any of that benevolence in those flood stricken areas, whereby
all are praised for setting shoulder to shoulder, and all the goodwill of so
many, with Anna Bligh’s tear stained face, will also rub off with extending the
same benevolence to those other people, also floating around on small boats.
The refugees.

Everybody talking to their pockets. Everybody wants a box of chocolates and
a long stem rose. Everybody knows Leonard Cohen

Reply

  1. Rudy Mcalmondsays: January 25, 2011 at 6:14 am

Appreciate it for sharing the information with us.

Dulcie Annarummosays: January 26, 2011 at 9:29 am

You’re so cool! I don’t suppose I’ve read something like this before. So nice to seek out anyone with some authentic thoughts on this subject. Really thank you for starting this up. this website is one thing that’s needed on the internet, somebody with somewhat originality. useful job for bringing something new to the internet!

  1. Peter Wakeham says: April 7, 2011 at 6:06 pm

Dear Dr Hase I think this is the best article about the conspiracy of silence around workplace bullying I have ever read – in all my 15 years of anti-bullying work. I will publish your article on my blogsite and send it around to people on my email list, I will include details of the source of the article with a link to your website.

Love and freedom from bullying.

Posted in Break the Silence | Leave a reply

Break the silence that surrounds Bullying at work

Break The Silence is what we are all about – a campaign news and support service for victims of bullying and harassment to come forward and describe what happened / is happening to them and how it made / makes them feel.

We were set up to help victims of bullying at work, about 10% of all
employees (2.5 to 3 million people) are bullied every working day, but we know
there are victims of other kinds of harassment and they are welcome to speak
out.

We know it is time more effort was made to stop the bullying and harassment
at work. We feel that if more people spoke out about their own experiences and
what they have witnessed at first hand this would help break the silence that
surrounds bullying and harassment in all its guises.

The effects of bullying are spread widely throughout our communities, take
the example of workplace bullying where there are 3 million victims, this also
affects witnesses of bullying and family members of victims of bullying too –
so we maybe talking about 10 million people feeling the effects of workplace
bullying alone!

Bullying thrives in the workplace because the conspiracy of silence allows
bullying to continue. Silence is like nourishment for the bullies.

The silence of the victims is bad but understandable, but the silence of
witnesses is less understandable – they could speak out and remain anonymous if they wished. In the workplace the silence (and blindness) of human resources
staff, Unions and senior managers of places where bullying exists, but no
action taken against bullies, shows a level of cowardice that is beyond
understanding.

Victims of bullying also have to endure the conspiracy of silence of the
media and politicians – victims of bullying live in misery and sometimes commit
suicide – it is time to speak out and demand that bullying stops.

BREAK THE CONSPIRACY OF SILENCE

We want people to become self-empowered so we encourage them to COME OUT as victims of bullying (I am a bully victim and I’m not ashamed!) and have their experiences published on our blogsite.

We will organise BULLIED PRIDE processions, similar to Gay Pride and Mad
Pride, of people who have come out on the bully issue.

We want to set up community based support groups so that through gaining
knowledge of their rights they can help other people who experience abuse and
bullying.

OUTLAW BULLYING AND HARASSMENT

Also we campaign for a change in the law to outlaw bullying and harassment
at work plus change the Protection from Harassment Act to protect genuine
harassed individuals and scrap the catch-all sections of the Act that attacks
protestors’ rights.

Please contact us if you want to help or need further information.

Australians Bill to Make Bullying A Crime

New laws to be introduced by the State Government that will deliver far
harsher penalties to workplace bullies will hopefully eventually be seen across
Australia to deter such behaviour nationwide.

Bullies, in extreme cases, could face jail terms of up to 10 years if the
State Government’s proposed amendment to the Crimes Act passes through

Parliament.

The new laws are a response to the tragic case of Brodie Panlock, a café
waitress who suffered chronic bullying at her workplace which provoked her
suicide. The four men responsible for the bullying were fined under the
Occupational Health and Safety Act.

Attorney-General Robert Clark said new provisions would be made to ensure
workplace and online bullying would now be classified as crimes.

VECCI is seeking more detail about the proposed laws to ensure they strike
the right balance. We know that most employers have solid practices in place to
deal with workplace bullies and are aware of their obligations to provide a
safe workplace for all their employees. They will continue to do this in full
knowledge of the future penalties that may apply.

Ultimately we hope a federal approach could be implemented,
as workplace bullying is not exclusive to Victoria, but a nationwide issue.
Many Victorian businesses have interstate offices and bullying does not respect
State boundaries.

SOURCE: http://blog.vecci.org.au/2011/04/06/national-approach-needed-to-deter-workplace-bullying/