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What Support is Available? Family/Friends
Work Colleagues/Witnesses
Support Groups

This is one of several pages in this section that will give you the immediate information to help you. These pages are from a variety of sources but all tried and tested by many targets. You may feel that some things are not necessary or the advice takes a particularly pessimistic view of people and employers - sadly, it's the reality in an extremely high majority of cases. Most cases of bullying follow exactly the same format. Protect yourself by knowing all you can and by taking the advice on the following pages.

What support is available? Support is all around us - family, friends, work colleagues [the ones who are not abusing you!], witnesses to what is happening to you. Further afield, there are many support groups which are made up of people who have been abused and can share valuable information with you, as well as giving you the emotional support you need to know that what you are experiencing is not your fault - and they can give you some great tips on how to deal with things.

Although it is hard to do, it is better for you to tell people closest to you. There is a lot of shame attached to being abused, you may feel that it is your fault or that you should have been able to stop it. Neither are true and you may be surprised how many people will understand once you start telling them. People who you may have known for some time may have also gone through it, but have not spoken to you about it for the same reason! One saying is: those who matter, care; those who don't care, don't matter. Take the plunge with someone you trust the most and that will help you built up your confidence in telling others.

Work colleagues and potential witnesses - some may see what is happening, but often no one sees. The latter is the hardest to deal with and this type of abuser is clever enough not to have any witnesses so it will come down to your word against theirs. With such [usually] plausible people, this can be hard - there is some advice under the 'work' section for this. If there are witnesses, it is best to get them 'on board' so to speak as quickly as possible. Try to get them to put in writing what they have witnessed. This may help you get support from the management [but in some cases not]. Work colleagues may also be suffering the same thing but unknown to you. Again, try to start with someone you feel you can trust.

Support from HR and management will be dealt with under the 'work' quickhit.

Support groups may be face to face or online and some face to face groups will also have online discussion forums as an extra facility for its members. What will suit you will depend on your circumstances, access to getting to meetings, access to the internet/email and also your security concerns. Face to face groups offer the greatest security as anyone not genuine will be quickly found out, usually before you even meet them. This is a little harder on the internet and some groups take precautions - just as in work there are people with malicious intent out on the internet too. Whatever your circumstances or preferences, there should be a group to suit you out there!

There are many face to face support groups and some have the added benefit of an online discussion facility. Groups may have membership based on location, a specific profession or a specific employer. The Support Group Network is an organisation that was set up in 2003 to link groups around the world for the benefit of targets. A full profile of all support group members can be found here.

Internet based support groups have many benefits and each offer different things - each have their own personality too! The internet can be a dangerous place, especially when traumatised or hurt. The following is an analysis of the main groups available with notes on what each code means below so that you may find the one that suits you and your needs. There is also a note about the predominant location of members below. jfo recommend HealingWork, Online Support Group and Workbully Support.

Spam Defence
Troll & Lurker Defence
Internet and/or Email
Off-Topic Tendency
669/ 0.89
82/ 1.82
Pet friendly :) [women only]
358/ 0.82
97/ 10.2*
27/ 0.54
162/ 0.36

[*The 3 month period that this comparison was done in 2004. The Online Support Group started the comparative period with zero members making the 'average' numbers for comparison unsuitable. However, for completeness they are still provided as a guide]


Group name - click on the name to go to any of the online support groups listed. If there is an attached website, this is also linked.

Spam Defence - this is based on whether spammers can get direct access and post spam to the group [those with yahoo open membership and the members first post not monitored]

A spammer is someone who has something to sell or a virus to infect you with. A virus will not come come directly through one of these groups, as all those with open membership do not allow attachments. However, those groups with open memberships are more likely to have someone 'harvest' email accounts from the site to send a mimicked email with a virus.

Troll & Lurker Defence - this is based on the group having an open or restricted membership and/or effective moderation

A troll is someone who joins a group to cause a disturbance to the members. For more information, please see this page.

A lurker may be sleeping members [genuine members who are not posting for whatever reason], defence lawyers [noting the activities and views of those in litigation] or a troll learning what they can about the members to choose a target

Internet/Email - many groups are hosted by yahoo and are available by email and internet according to the users preference. Some providers pay for a private forum which may or may not allow messages by email but may allow PM's [private messages] between users.

Plus+ - this gives an indication of whether other facilities/resources are available other than a discussion forum. These are quite often associated with private forums that can be adapted to the needs of the users.

Activity - the first figure is an average number of postings per month, based on the three month period to the end June 2004 [*OTSG 3 months to end of July]. The second figure is the average number of postings per month for each member of the group. Posts per member is a more accurate guide to the groups' activity than just membership numbers, as some groups have high levels of unactive members.

Off-Topic Tendency - this relates to any feature of the group that is unrelated to bullying. Some off-topics may suit some and not others. The off-topic tendencies listed may change as any forum moves in different directions.

The predominant location of members may be important to you when deciding which group you wish to join, if you are looking for advice on legal matters or just want some commonality. Bullyonline and Workbully Support tend to be mainly UK based; Nineveh, HealingWork and Toxic Managers tend to be mainly US based; this is not to say that each forum does not have its fair share of other countries represented. It is too early to say if the Online Target Support Group will be predominantly UK based or worldwide [initial visitors are from UK/US/AU/CA].


The following helplines are available to advise those suffering from workplace abuse. You may also wish to check if your employer offers a confidential helpline.


The Andrea Adams Trust 01273 704 900 A UK charity dedicated to bullying, provides a confidential helpline that can offer advice and direct callers to further help and support. Available 10.00 and 16.00 Monday to Friday

SupportLine 020 8554 9004 - provides a confidential telephone helpline offering emotional support to any individual on any issue. Hours vary.

Victim Support 0845 30 30 900 - an independent charity offers someone to talk to in confidence. Open 9am-9pm Monday to Friday and 9am-7pm on weekends

Lesbian & Gay Employment Rights Lesbians 020 7704 8066 Gay Men 020 7704 6066 LAGER provides support and advice to those experiencing discrimination at work [minicom also available]

US Canada Australia & more

Can you advise us on helpline numbers?

If you have any advice or recommendations on changes to this page, including additional resources, please email jfo

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Email jo@jfo.org.uk

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