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8. What should you do if you are being bullied or harassed?

8.1 Many students are reluctant to complain, even though their educational institution or practice placement will recognise that bullying and harassment go on, and indeed, have policies to deal with such issues. Students often feel they won't be believed, or their case won't be dealt with sensitively and the situation will only get worse or be 'swept under the carpet'. Sometimes they think complaining will make them seen weak, or they won't be supported.

8.2 Bullying myths, common myths and misperceptions of bullying:

  • There is no bullying here
  • Bullying toughens you up
  • Stand up for yourself
  • Ignore it and it will go away
  • It's part of life and do you just have to accept it

8.3 Student radiographers are sometimes afraid that if they make a fuss, it will prejudice the clinical/course assessment grades they need to progress on their course. This should not be a problem if cases are dealt with properly through correct educational institution or practice placement bullying and harassment policies.

8.4 The fact remains that until student radiographers take action, it is unlikely that the bully or harasser will stop. It's much better for students' wellbeing if they take action, thus also helping others in the future by showing that bullying won't be tolerated. It's also best to take action early as this sends a message that bullying or harassing will not be tolerated. It is important students do not blame themselves for what they‟re experiencing and don‟t feel they have to wait until they are at breaking point before initiating any action.

8.5 Taking action

It is important that, in addressing the issue of being bullied or harassed, you take the most appropriate approach depending on what you are comfortable with and the individual circumstances.

Talk it over Firstly, you should talk to other people. It often helps to talk informally to someone such as a friend, family member, trusted colleague, practice placement educator, personal tutor or the SCoR Professional Officer for Education and Students. It is up to you to decide who to talk to but this will help you to decide if there is a genuine problem.

If you experience symptoms of stress or anxiety, it is important for you to see your GP, university medical service or the occupational health department at your practice placement site and discuss with them the effects on your physical and mental health.

Keep evidence It is vital to keep a written record of incidents related to your situation. This can help clarify exactly what has happened. If you decide to make a formal complaint this record will provide vital evidence to support your case. Keep your notes short and simple, write down all the detail as soon as possible after the incident so your mind is fresh.

The following should be recorded:

  • Date and time of the incident
  • Where the incident took place
  • Nature of the incident
  • Your response to the incident
  • Your feelings
  • Whether any action was taken, and if so, what it was
  • The names of witnesses, if present

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