Duke of Edinburgh

Advice on bullying & harrassment

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Advice on bullying & harrassment

Young people, Leaders and volunteers are entitled to an environment free from bullying and harassment. You will have the support form your Licensed Organisation and the DofE in addressing any type of harassment or inappropriate behaviour you encounter.

Bullying and harassment in general terms is unwanted conduct affecting the dignity of an individual or group of individuals. It may be related to age, sex, race, disability, religion, nationality or any personal characteristic of the individual and may be persistent or an isolated incident. The key is that the actions or comments are viewed as demeaning and unacceptable by the recipient.

The DofE takes bullying and harassment very seriously. Please share the following advice with your group and other volunteers:

  • If you feel you are being bullied (for example in person, by email, text or online) do talk to someone you trust. This could be your local DofE Leader or Licensed Organisation contact (your Licensed Organisation contact can be found through your eDofEaccount or here).
  • Never bully anyone, or send any bullying or threatening messages. Anything you do, write or send could be reported to an adult.
  • Serious bullying should be reported to the police - for example threats of a physical or sexual nature.
  • If you can, make a note of the time and date of any incidents of and keep any bullying messages or images sent. Note any details about the sender.
  • Keep and save any bullying emails, text messages or images.
  • Don't reply to bullying or threatening messages or emails - this could make matters worse. It also lets the bullying people know that they have found a 'live' phone number or email address. They may get bored quite quickly if you ignore them.
  • Don't give out your personal details online - if you're in a chatroom, watch what you say about where you live, the school you go to, your email address etc. All these things can help someone who wants to harm you build up a picture about you.
  • Don't forward abusive texts or emails or images to anyone. You could be breaking the law just by forwarding them. If they are about you, keep them as evidence. If they are about someone else, delete them and don't reply to the sender.
  • Don't ever give out passwords to your mobile, email or eDofE online account.
  • Remember that sending abusive or threatening messages is against the law.



If you feel that anyone involved in the DofE has not followed the Code of Behavior you should report it to someone you trust. This could be your DofE Leader, teacher or Licensed Organisation DofE Manager for example.

You should keep a written note of the incident(s) including dates, times, what happened and who was present.

Dealing with any reports

All allegations of conduct contrary to the Code of Behaviour must be investigated and an action plan to deal with it agreed by the Licensed Organisation DofE Manager or the Charity.

If the DofE Charity receives an allegation of against a volunteer or leader from an Licensed Organisation it will refer the matter to the Licensed Organisation concerned to investigate and deal with. The Licensed Organisation should deal with the allegation in accordance with the Licensed Organisation's policies and procedures. The DofE will require feedback.

If the allegation involves a DofE member of staff or direct volunteer, the DofE’s own disciplinary and grievance policy and procedures will be used. If it is against another individual during a DofE organised event the incident will be dealt with using the DofE’s policy and procedures for dealing with complaints. If the matter involves a Child Protection issue, the Child Protection policy and procedures take precedent.

If time is required to carry out an investigation of the circumstances surrounding the matter suspension from all DofE activities may be appropriate. Such suspension should not be regarded as a form of disciplinary action and will be for as short a period as possible. Any decision to dismiss an individual or permanently exclude an individual from DofE activities will only be taken after a full investigation.