Bullying Prevention

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Bullying Prevention

Bullying is an important public health issue that HRSA and its partners address in communities across the country. Whether kids bully each other in person or cyberbully using electronic technology, the results of this aggressive behavior have serious, lasting effects. Preventing bullying in all its forms can improve the physical and mental health, and the safety and well-being of children and their families.

HRSA actively works to reduce bullying prevalence across the country in a variety of ways. Key to this is co-chairing the Federal Partners in Bullying Prevention (FPBP), a cross-government working group charged with coordinating federal efforts on bullying prevention. As co-chair, HRSA leads the FPBP to provide consistent and well-informed resources to the field to significantly reduce the prevalence of youth peer-to-peer bullying.  Our efforts, combined with those of our partners, include developing and sharing research, guidance, and resources at the national, state, and local levels.

Guidance to Federal, State and Local Governments

At the federal level, HRSA co-leads the Federal Partners in Bullying Prevention (FPBP), which is composed of 26 agencies across eight departments. The FPBP host biannual Federal Bullying Prevention Summits. Find out what happened in 2016, when the theme was “Keeping Kids Safe: Promoting Tolerance and Inclusion among Students to Prevent Bullying.”

HRSA is an active partner with StopBullying.gov, a collaborative federal effort launched in 2011 that engages federal and community stakeholders from across the health, education, justice, and youth domains in bullying prevention. Through StopBullying.gov, HRSA distributes important bullying prevention research findings via webinars, trainings, blogs, and more.

HRSA recognizes that bullying within a community is an indicator of that community’s overall health. For this reason, HRSA’s Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB) added National Performance 9, bullying prevalence, to its National Performance Measures as part of the Title V Maternal and Child Health Services Block Grant Program. This enables HRSA to address the impact of bullying on public health across the nation and to support states in improving the health, safety and well-being of children and families.
To help states in their development of strategies that address the National Performance Measures and to promote the health and well-being of maternal and child heath population, MCHB supports the Strengthen the Evidence Base for Maternal and Child Health Programs Exit Disclaimer. The Center has produced an Evidence Review Exit Disclaimer for the bullying prevention National Performance Measure, which is a critical analysis and synthesis of effectiveness of strategies to address bullying.

Assessing Capacity for Bullying Prevention and Implementing Change (PDF - 1.17 MB) was created for HRSA in 2017 by a team of bullying and violence prevention experts to support Title V agencies in reducing bullying prevalence. This resource has two main tools: the Bullying Prevention Capacity Assessment, and the Bullying Prevention Change Package of evidence-based and evidence-informed strategies. Together these tools enable state health departments to assess their current capacity to address bullying and determine any gaps and needs.

Resources to Aid Community-wide Efforts

HRSA’s research-based resources give community leaders concrete tools to address, and ultimately, take steps to prevent bullying. Available in English and Spanish at StopBullying.gov’s Bullying Prevention Training Center, these action-oriented tools include:

Bullying Prevention
Training Course
Take Action!
Training Module:
User Guides

Access the stakeholder-specific bullying prevention guides:


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Commitment to Research

HRSA commissioned the Institute of Medicine for the project: Building Capacity to Reduce Bullying and Its Impact on Youth across the Lifecourse Exit Disclaimer.

In April 2014, researchers and experts in bullying prevention convened to gather current research on bullying, specifically:

Building on the work done in the workshop, a committee of experts from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine Exit Disclaimer conducted a consensus study, for which HRSA was a co-sponsor. The study focused on the state of the science of the biological and psychosocial effects of peer victimization, and the risk and protective factors that either increase or decrease peer victimization behavior and consequences.

The report, Preventing Bullying Through Science, Policy, and Practice Exit Disclaimer, released in May of 2016, evaluated the state of the science and impact of the problem. The report also provided next steps in the form of specific recommendations for policymakers, educators, health care providers, and others concerned about bullying. Several of the report recommendations were addressed to the Federal Partners in Bullying Prevention, who have taken preliminary steps to address them.

Find out more about the Committee on the Biological and Psychosocial Effects of Peer Victimization: Lessons for Bullying Prevention Exit Disclaimer.


Partner Engagement

HRSA engages with more than 270 national, state and local partners who provide expert review and support in developing and distributing bullying prevention resources.

“Students love to learn about constitutional law, and what their rights are, but it’s also important to emphasize personal responsibility, civic duty and the role they play in creating safer communities. School Resource Officers (SROs) rely on the StopBullying.gov resources, training materials, and the law enforcement user guide, to support their classroom bullying prevention efforts.”
“In the past few years, we noticed a rise in ‘incidents’ and learned that many were not accidental, but involved bullying by youth who wanted to harm or intimidate others. We realized immediately that we had to take action so that all staff, volunteers and children felt safe from bullying in our facilities.”

Related Resources

For Public Health Professionals and Researchers

For Parents, Caregivers and Educators

For Members of the Media

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Date Last Reviewed:  December 2017