"I believe that everybody has the right to live in a community where they feel safe, included, valued and accepted regardless of differences. I pledge to be respectful of others and stand up against bullying whenever and wherever I see it." - Anti – bullying pledge.

It hurts to be bullied and this is a fact that should never be minimized. When I heard that the issue of bullying was being addressed during HLFE week I was immensely pleased. Bullying is a serious problem that can tarnish the lives of kids and adults, yet we fail, as a society, to adequately deal and root out this problem. How many more young lives must we allow to be ruined before we decide to get a handle on this damaging practice? Bullying is like a cancer, if allowed to take hold, it can ruin lives. That's why schools, workplaces, communities and friends need to take action at the first sign of trouble.

People often think that bullies act out to cover their own fears. Granted this may be so, but accepting this as a reason makes bullies sound like victims of their fears and does not hold them accountable for their abusive actions. People bully others to feel powerful or to try to gain power over someone else. They only feel important when they threaten, intimidate or hurt others. Bullying doesn't have to be physical, it's often social, like spreading rumours and lies which are intended to hurt, discredit, and exclude others.

Parents, if your child shows signs of bullying behaviour, please realise that it's something you need to address, because if the behaviour is not stopped, then the child may grow up to become an abusive parent, spouse or boss. If your child is a victim of bullying, then take the time to listen and help to find ways to teach your child how to stand up for themselves and deal with this difficulty in a responsible manner. To all the boys and girls being bullied – you should not have to go through this alone. You need to get help from somebody who has more power than the person who is bullying you, like a teacher, or the police.

Parents, you have to set the standard. There should be no excuse for cursing someone out, or for hitting anyone. Bullies always have an excuse, a way to justify their behaviour. This justification is so powerful that it takes the place of empathy for the person that they are bullying.

Bullying is supposed to be something that children engage in, but everyone knows it doesn't always end when childhood does. We know those grown ups who are bullies. You know- the office meanies, the under-miners, gossipers and credit stealers. It's sad that adult bullying is so often ignored, with looks of disbelief from people that such behaviour goes on between "adults".

Unlike bullies in schools who often resort to using their fists, workplace bullies generally use words and actions to intimidate others. Your workplace bully may be your co-worker or your boss.

All of us can be difficult to work with at times, in ways we're usually blind to. However when you are in a work environment yet face repeated mistreatment, sabotage by others that prevent or make it difficult for you to get your work done, or you face verbal abuse, threatening conduct, intimidation, or humiliation, then you – my friend are facing workplace bullying.

The workplace bully fears exposure of their inadequacy and incompetence, and if you are good at your job, then your presence, and competence fuels that fear. Jealousy and envy are strong motivators of bullying. If you are facing such a condition, then I urge you - don't allow the bully to intimidate you or make you feel bad about yourself. You know your true worth, don't forget what that is. Do your job and do it well. The workplace bully wants you to fail and when you don't then he or she will be defeated.

Workplace bullying is a serious problem on island and may be companies should begin to consider implementing formal workplace bullying policies. If you think about the time bullies waste gossiping and carrying complaints instead of getting work done, it makes sense to ban bullying in the workplace.

Let's try to come together as a community to stop bullies wherever they are. I am taking the pledge, I urge others to join.