Bullying in residential care for children: Qualitative findings from five European countries

Angela Mazzone, Annalaura Nocentini, Ersilia Menesini - Children and Youth Services Review


The present study addressed institutionalised children and staff members' perspectives about bullying in Residential Care settings (RCs) in five European countries (Bulgaria, France, Greece, Italy and Romania.). Interviews and focus groups were conducted respectively with 123 institutionalised children and adolescents (age range: 6–18) and staff members (N = 95; age range: 23-63). Thematic analysis was adopted to analyse the data. Overall, findings indicated that participants were not fully aware of the specific features of bullying. Children and adolescents considered bullying as a normative behaviour and were reluctant to ask for adults' help when bullying happened. Staff members attributed bullying to children's traumatic experiences and to a need for adults' attention. Findings shed light on the lack of standardised protocols and of professional trainings to tackle bullying. Implications for intervention programs aimed at preventing and tackling bullying are discussed.