The Magic Circle Policy on Bullying

Bullying, whether actual or perceived, is not tolerated either perpetrated by or aimed at members of The Magic Circle.

Definition of Bullying

Bullying may be seen as particularly hurtful behaviour, usually repeated over a period of time, where, for one reason or another, it is difficult for those bullied to defend themselves. It is the wilful, conscious desire to frighten, dominate or hurt someone else by the use of words or gestures, even just by a look, or by actual, or the threat of, physical violence, thereby damaging their self-confidence or self-esteem. Bullying can take many forms including:

  • Physical e.g. assault or theft.
  • Verbal (including unwanted teasing) e.g. racist, sexist or homophobic remarks, spreading of rumours, threats or name-calling.
  • Written e.g. distribution of printed material about the victim, graffiti, correspondence sent by post or email.
  • Emotional e.g. excluding an individual from the activities or social acceptance of the peer group.
  • Harassment e.g. prolonged or repeated attention or using abusive or insulting behaviour in a manner intended to cause alarm or distress.

Cyber bullying is a new and increasing problem. It can include harassment, racist remarks, spreading of rumours, making threats, name-calling, unwanted criticism etc. and is typically carried out on social media, internet forums, by email, on mobile phones or other electronic media.

Identifying Bullying

Although sometimes occurring between two individuals in isolation, bullying often takes place in the presence of, or witnessed by, others. Members of The Magic Circle are all above the age of 18, so it is expected that in most cases they will pass on their concerns to friends or senior members of the Society, but this is not always the case. Bullying can be difficult to pick up because it often happens away from others and victims do not always tell others. However members can watch for signs that may indicate the presence of bullying. The following lists common bully/victim behaviour.

If a member:

  • Is reluctant to work with a certain individual.
  • Is quite nervous, withdraws from everybody else and becomes quiet and shy, especially in the case of those who have previously been known to be noisy or extroverted.
  • A usually quiet person becomes suddenly prone to lashing out at people, either physically or verbally.

Cyber bullying is generally much more easily identified as its nature means that it is usually far more open and public. However text or voicemail messages, for example, can be completely private and deliberately targeted.

If a member feels that he or she is a victim of bullying from within the magic community, or a member has knowledge or suspicions that a fellow member is a victim of bullying, this should be brought to the attention of a member of the Council of The Magic Circle, normally through the secretary. The officers of the society should be informed and they will decide whether or not the matter should be brought to the attention of the full Council. In most cases, it will be brought to the full Council unless the sensitivity of the case determines that this would not be in the interest of the victim of bullying.

The Council will take all reports of bullying very seriously.

Action to Help the Victim(s) and Prevent Bullying

Council will:

  • Always seek to create an open environment where members are encouraged to state their concerns.
  • Take all allegations seriously and take action to ensure the victim(s) is/are safe. Speak with the victim(s) and the bully(ies) separately or together at the preference of the victim(s).
  • Reassure the victim(s) that they can be trusted and will help them.
  • Report any concerns to the person in charge at the organisation where the bullying is occurring if outside The Magic Circle such as on an Internet forum, for example.
  • Follow up at a later date to ensure actual or perceived bullying has ended.

Action towards the Bully(ies)

Council will:

  • Endeavour to talk with the bully(ies), explain the situation and try to get the bully(ies) to understand the consequences of their behaviour.
  • Seek an apology from the bully(ies) to the victim(s) and an assurance that the behavior will not continue.
  • Inform the bully’s parents/guardians if they are under the age of 18.
  • If appropriate, insist that the bully(ies) compensate the victim.
  • Impose membership sanctions (including expulsion if all other sanctions have been exhausted) as necessary.
  • Encourage and support the bully(ies) to change their behaviour.
  • If necessary and appropriate, police will be informed or consulted.

Bullying in any form is unacceptable in The Magic Circle.

The Magic Circle is committed to providing a caring, friendly and safe environment for all members. Bullying can have potentially long-lasting and damaging psychological effects on the victim and is harmful to the community that is The Magic Circle.

The key to the prevention of bullying is an ethos within The Magic Circle based on mutual respect and care and consideration of others rather than one based on power and strength. The Council of The Magic Circle is committed to the development and maintenance of this ethos.

This policy is subject to periodic review.

Kevin Doig
November 2013