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Method of intervention for scapegoat cases :
“Shared Concern” method


Method – intervention – scapegoat – mediation - school


National Project


Method of intervention to solve the type of problems “bully-bullied” in school environment : this approach technique has been worked out by the psychologist Anatol PIKAS and has been reported to us by one of the mediator of the Hainaut, Candide






Teachers, Researchers, Young People, School Directors, Psychologists.


1 st phase

•  Recognition of a « bully-bullied problem in the classroom (or in the school).

•  Gathering of needed information about the situation and about the victim's worries (teachers' observations, atmosphere of the classroom, disciplinary reports, etc.).

•  Identification of a certain number of pupils having committed intimidation acts (or having supported such acts).


2 nd phase

Individual meetings with everyone in turn, starting with the one supposed to be the leader (if he/she is known).

Be careful: it is important not to make an accusation at the time of these interviews.

Course of the meeting with the bullies

•  I ask the pupil to sit on a chair located in front of him/her (no table between us) and I wait to get in visual contact with him/her before starting the dialog.

•  I state that I'm worrying for the victim after having clearly and sincerely expressed my feelings.

•  As soon as the pupil admits to be aware of what is happening (without necessarily admitting a feeling of culpability), he/she is asked to tell what she/he could do to improve the situation.

•  The pupil makes suggestions in order to improve the situation (or the mediator makes suggestions that the bully could easily accept).

Remark : the mediator doesn't try to find out the “truth of the matter” or to share the faults but rather to provoke a constructive answer and to change the situation. The mediator who leads the interview has to firmly support any constructive proposal.

•  Planning of a further meeting with the pupil in order to check what has been really accomplished (the support is essential).

The other pupils of the group are then separately met and the process repeats itself.

Course of the meeting with the bullied

•  I meet the bullied after having talk with all the presumed bullies;

•  I start by expressing my solicitude, my sympathy and my support to the youth regarding what is happens;

•  I try to know if the bullied do “something” to provoke these intimidation acts toward him/her (provocative victim?);

•  Then I reveal that I have met the authors of these intimidation act and that each of them agreed to cooperate;

•  I commit myself to meet the bullied again to check the evolution of the situation.


3 rd phase

•  I meet again each bully (as it was planned) to check the commitments and the progresses achieved;

•  Don't hesitate to congratulate the group for these progresses.

4 th phase

If we are assured of the positive attitude of each member towards the victim, we can invite the victim to a final meeting in order to demonstrate that the intimidation problem is well solved; we can manage to persuade the victim to join the group for the last meeting by assuring him/her that nothing unpleasant will happen. If everything goes well, the meeting helps to demonstrate to everyone that the intimidation problem is really behind now.

When the adult notices provocative behaviours of the victim, he/she has to try to help both parties to modify their behaviours, that is to say to play a role of mediation. The aim is to lead the pupils to end with written agreement under an agreed form about the behaviour that everyone will have towards the others in the future.

Foundation of the method of the « shared concern »

We generally (not always) consider that the aggressors are unmoved by the pain inflicted to the victim. Their insensitivity is the result of their links with a group that seems to legitimate their intimidation acts and to keep them from feeling responsible of their acts' consequences. It seems that what intimidation brings them is to make part of a group that has “fun”.

However, as individuals, the aggressors are usually ill at ease about the situation.

An accusatory and unfriendly attitude from a symbol of authority could intensify the aggressors' will to continue to intimidate and to strengthen the links that unite them. Nevertheless we don't try nowise to forgive them or to tolerate intimidation. In reality, the method is quite direct and it is based on confrontation.

A serious answer is asked and expected.

After having committed themselves, the members of the group responsible of intimidation acts are asked not to talk together about what happens anymore. The influence of the group is that way reduced.

Once the promises are made, It is absolutely necessary to monitor what will follow from that.

We should avoid interrogating the victim first, because if the aggressors think they have been denounced, he/she will be more in danger.

The victims are not always “innocent” and it is important to know what they do, if it is the case, to provoke the intimidation act.

It is then necessary to hand over to a psychologist (behaviourist) in order to work directly to modify the victim's provocative behaviour.


Benefits of this approach

•  to bring the aggressors to new feelings;

•  to get rid of the necessity to constantly “monitor” the victim.


The resort to sanctions is often ineffective. It can generate rancor, reinforce solidarity within the group, put the victim more in danger and lead the aggressors to use intimidation machination difficult to detect.

Of course, the way to use the method with the pupils should be maturely considered and planned. However it is not compulsory to take much time for the exercise. Often, short meetings and interviews are sufficient.


Today, we have valid studies that prove the effectiveness of this method for at least 2 out of 3 cases. Numerous schools in Great Britain, in Europe and in Australia have resorted to this method and have very good results. However, when it is about serious intimidation or when the shared concern is effectless, it can be necessary to resort to further measures, in particular interviews with parents, or even the suspension of the course for the aggressors.


Intervention protocol.


This intervention method is used and described by one of the mediators of the School Mediation Service of the Hainaut, Candide Messiant. It seems to have proved itself in Belgium and abroad. pages


Christine CLOES





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