Mental Health Awareness Week 2022 - hand extended to sitting person illustration

Anti-Bullying Week 2023

The theme of this year’s Anti-Bullying Week is ‘Make a noise about bullying’.

Incivility in all its forms, including bullying and harassment, can have a significant impact on working lives, particularly on an individual’s performance, mental health and wellbeing. To support Anti-Bullying week we have provided some useful information and resources below.

The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons through its Mind Matters Initiative (MMI) is committed to raising awareness of the impact of Incivility and promoting the importance of dignity and respect at work, through its resources, campaigns and training. Bullying and harassment has no place in education, the workplace or the professions, and by working together we can do more to promote civility and inclusive organisational cultures.

The Anti-Bullying Alliance (2023) defines Bullying as ‘the repetitive, intentional hurting of one person or group by another person or group, where the relationship involves an imbalance of power. Bullying can be physical, verbal or psychological. It can happen face-to-face or online’. 

If you are experiencing or have witnessed bullying in the workplace, there is help and support available. Depending on your circumstances, you might find it helpful to; 

  • Talk informally to a trusted friend or colleague,  
  • Discuss informally with your manager or a member of your HR/People team, 
  • Seek out independent advice and guidance e.g. via Vetlife, Employee Assistance Programme, ACAS or Citizens Advice on how to support yourself or others, 
  • Consider raising a formal concern or complaint through your workplace processes, 
  • Report inappropriate behaviour or cyberbullying on social media sites and forums 

Does your organisation have a bullying and harassment policy? 

It is good practice for all organisations to have clear bullying and harassment policies and procedures in place, that are reviewed regularly, readily available to employees and act on concerns or complaints raised fairly and quickly by an appropriate person. If you don’t know if your organisation has a policy, reach out to your HR/People team to ask. 

Did you know? 

According to a 2021 Mind Matters Initiative wellbeing survey of student and recently graduated veterinary nurses, 96% of respondents agreed that bullying and incivility was a serious problem in the profession. This stark figure highlights how important it is that we work towards developing culturally safe working environments and become more active bystanders to challenge, disrupt and report inappropriate and harmful behaviour, when and wherever it occurs.  The student veterinary nurse wellbeing survey was the first of its kind and you can read the full report at SVN-wellbing-discussion-forum-2021-report.pdf ( 

Useful reads and resources 

There are a range of useful services and resources you can access if you are being bullied, harassed or facing other forms of incivility in the workplace. 

Vetlife is available 24/7 to listen and offer a safe, non-judgemental space for you to explore your options. Call 0303 040 2551

Samaritans – Samaritans is available round the clock, every single day of the year. It provides a safe place for anyone struggling to cope, whoever they are, however they feel, whatever life has done to them. Call 116 123.

BVA Article Why behaviour matters: Civility Saves Lives ( 

RCVS Knowledge Good practice culture – great job satisfaction – RCVS Knowledge 

The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAD) gives employees and employers free, impartial advice on workplace rights, rules and best practice.   What bullying is – Bullying at work – Acas 

Citizens Advice offers free and confidential advice on various topics If you’re being harassed or bullied at work – Citizens Advice 

Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development (CIPD) provide a range of useful factsheets Bullying & Harassment at Work | Factsheets | CIPD 

VetLed have some fantastic free resources which have been created in collaboration with Civility Saves Lives. You can download these resources via their website


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