Half the population are bullied ... most only recognize it when they read this
The UK National Workplace Bullying Advice Line was founded by Tim Field in January 1996. The rate of calls increased after the Advice Line was featured in Paul Gosling's article Workplace bullies under the cosh in the Independent on Sunday on 28 January 1996. The phone never stopped ringing thereafter. The Advice Line was run entirely by Tim Field, received no external funding, and was funded by sales of the books Bullycide: death at playtime, Bully in sight and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: the invisible injury.
Click to see what people said about The UK National Workplace Bullying Advice Line, Tim Field's book Bully in sight, and Bully OnLine.
Tim wrote: "After eight successful years I decided to close the UK National Workplace Bullying Advice Line in January 2004, a decision that was aided by the amount of time I was having to devote to defending myself against a vexatious libel action being taken against me by the National Union of Teachers on behalf of one of their former officers.
"The number one complaint of people calling the UK National UK Workplace Bullying Advice Line and emailing via Bully OnLine is the failure of trade unions to represent their members in cases of bullying. The political dimension to trade union failure to support members is explored on the Public Sector page."
The work of the UK National Workplace Bullying Advice Line will continue under the wing of The Field Foundation through its main project, Bully OnLine at Bully Online
The following percentages, which are approximate, have been consistent since
the Advice Line's inception.
UK National Workplace Bullying Advice Line
Statistics for the period 1 January 1996 to 31 January 2004
Total enquiries: 9084 Total cases of bullying: 8125
Many more cases are known through sales of Bully in sight which
by the end of 2005 had sold over 11,000 copies since it was published in December 1996. Bully in sight
was then in its fifth printing.
By the end of 2005 there had been over a million visits to this web site since November 1997 of which Tim estimated at least 10% were further cases of bullying. The site now attracts 2000-3000 visits each day (November 2008). Feedback from around the world (eg USA, Canada, Ireland, Finland, Australia and New Zealand) indicates that workplace bullying is a global phenomenon.
Approx 20% are teachers, lecturers and school administrative staff
Approx 12% are health care professionals, including nurses, paramedics, GPs etc
Approx 10% are from social services and caring occupations including care of the elderly and people with special needs
Approx 6-8% are from the voluntary and non-profit sector, with small charities (social housing, disadvantaged children, special needs, etc) featuring prominently (these usually involve a female serial bully); this sector has show the highest rate of increase in calls since 1998
Approx 5% are civil servants not included in the above groups
This pattern (teachers, nurses, social workers and the charity / not-for-profit / voluntary sector being the top four groups) is also appearing through emails from USA, Canada and Australia.
Approx 65% of enquiries are from the public sector
Approx 30% are from the private sector
Approx 5% are from students, retired people, etc
Approx 90% of cases involve a manager bullying a subordinate; 8% are peer-to-peer bullying, and 2% subordinate(s) bullying their manager. I suspect the true figures for peer-peer and subordinate-on-manager are higher given that I have few enquiries from factory and shop-floor environments.
Approx 75% of callers are female, probably because females are a) more willing to admit they are being bullied, and b) more likely to be motivated to do something about it.
Over 50% of reported bullies are female, probably due to the fact that teaching, nursing and social work have a higher-than-average percentage of female managers. The only apparent difference between male and female bullies is that females make much better (or is it worse?) bullies than men. Bullying is not a gender issue. I have no hard data on bully-target gender combinations but my impression is that a bully prefers a same-sex target on the basis that one knows one's own gender best (especially their weak spots), and, being intelligent, bullies are keen to remain outside the provisions of the Sex Discrimination Act.
Over 90% of enquiries involve a serial bully. It is the lack of knowledge or, or unwillingness to recognise, or outright denial of the existence of the serial bully which is the most common reason for an unsatisfactory outcome for both employees and employers.
Approx 90% involve professional or office based employees
Approx 5% involve voluntary workers, students, etc
Approx 5% are manual or shop floor workers
Approx 5% involve probable racial, sexual or disability abuse or discrimination (this
is a low figure because discrimination and harassment are well catered for by the EOC and
CRE and in UK legislation)
Approx 10% of cases involve contemplated suicide (I suspect the real number is much higher)
Approx 1% of cases involve attempted suicide (ditto) (click here to see why)
Twelve cases involve actual suicide (ditto)
Approx 20% have taken, are considering or are taking legal action via Employment
Tribunal (this number has increased during 1998 and continues to increase).
Only about 2% of cases make it to tribunal or court, and only about half are successful.
Approx 10% are pursuing or are considering pursuing a claim for personal injury (this number is increasing too).
Many more people would like to take legal action but are prevented from doing so by not being supported by their union or being refused access to their union's legal department, being too ill to contemplate legal action (click here to see why), being unable to afford legal action, existing law is weak (click here to see why) and because there is no law against bullying - yet. Also, if you take your employer to tribunal - even if you did nothing wrong - no future employer will consider you because you're obviously a troublemaker.
Callers' most common statements:
"I didn't realise I was being bullied until I saw you on television / heard you on radio / read your article / found Bully OnLine"
"I thought I was the only person this was happening to"
"I thought it was me ... I thought I was going mad"
"I've been in the workplace 10/20/30 years and I've never had an experience like it."
"If only I'd known about your web site/read your book two/three/four years ago..."
How the Field Foundation is working for a bully-free world through it's main project, Bully OnLine at Bully Online
For information and guidance on recognising and dealing with bullying click here.
Tim Field's book Bully in sight: how to predict, resist, challenge and combat workplace bullying validates the experience of bullying and contains further information and insight.
PTSD, trauma and strategies for recovery are in David Kinchin's book Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: the invisible injury, 2005 edition.
Bullycide: death at playtime, a co-authored book by Neil Marr and Tim Field about children who have attempted or committed suicide because of bullying at school, was published on 30 January 2001.
Where now at Bully OnLine?
How can I recognise that I'm being bullied?
What is bullying and why me? |Definitions of bullying
Frequently asked questions (FAQs) about bullying
Overcoming myths, misperceptions and stereotypes
The answer to Why don't you stand up for yourself?
Bullying and vulnerability
Why have my colleagues deserted me?
What's the difference between bullying and mobbing?
What is harassment and discrimination?
Why grievance procedures are inappropriate for dealing with bullying
The difference between bullying and management
Facts, figures, surveys, costs of bullying |Cost of bullying to UK plc
UK National Workplace Bullying Advice Line statistics
Profile of the serial bully - who does this describe in your life?
Antisocial Personality Disorder |Narcissistic Personality Disorder
Paranoid Personality Disorder |Borderline Personality Disorder
Bullies and attention-seeking behaviour
Munchausen Syndrome and MSBP
Information for nurses |Information for voluntary sector employees
Information for teachers being bullied
Bullying of lecturers in further education
Bullying of lecturers in higher education
Bullying in the social services sector
Bullying in the public sector - the political dimension and
why trade unions fail to support their members
Bullying in the military |Bullying of students
Scheduled training and conferences on bullying |Other events about bullying
Articles on bullying available online
Bullying on TV, radio and in print media
Requests to take part in surveys etc |Bullying issues needing research
Tim Field's quotes on bullying |Vision for bullying
Feedback about Bully OnLine | Survivor testimonies
The Secret Tragedy of Working: Work Abuse - PTSD Chauncey Hare
Bullying resources in: Australia |Canada |Finland |France |Germany |Ireland |Sweden |USA
Bully OnLine: Site search |Site map | Site index
Welcome page for new visitors
The Field Foundation |Bully OnLine
Workplace bullying |School bullying |Family bullying
Bullying news | Bullying case histories
Bullying resources |Press and media centre
Stress, PTSD and psychiatric injury
Action to tackle bullying | Related issues
Books on bullying, PTSD and bullying-related suicide