7.1 Context of the No Blame Approach

The No Blame Approach (NBA) has been developed in the beginning of the 1990-ties in England by George Robinson, long term headmaster of a school for children with behavioral disorders and Barbara Maines, school psychologist. They were looking for a constructive method to fight bullying in the case of a teenage boy whose teacher had asked them for help as Maines and Robinson describe in their publication: Crying for help – the No Blame Approach to Bullying: “We wanted a strategy that was safe, did not accuse, interrogate or alienate young people. We wanted a process that would improve relationships between young people and the adults working with them.” 1

Source: http://www.no-blame-approach.de/
Source: http://www.no-blame-approach.de/

Up to then different bullying intervention tools have been applied which foresaw severe consequences for the bullying student. However, punishment and negative consequences did not necessarily improve the situation for the bullied child but also carried the danger of revenge. So Barbara Maines and George Robinson designed a concept which did not focus on punishment but rather on the belief that, if group dynamics in a classroom changed – meaning that the bullying actions would no longer be considered cool or funny by the other classmates – the bully will change his behavior and stop bullying. The NBA takes the fact into consideration that bullying is not just an interaction between the offender and the victim but rather a situation where a whole group, in this case a class is involved. The bullying activities are being watched by others – and in a lot of cases it is the open or silent approval of the others which encourage a bully to continue. An intervention which leads to the withdrawal of support for the offender by bystanders or silent students will have an impact on this student.

And the results of the NBA intervention proved that it worked. In most cases the bullying was stopped.

Barbara Maines and George Robinson had the chance to apply the No Blame Approach and teach it in workshops in hundreds of cases, vividly described in several publications. 2

By now the No Blame Approach is used in the following countries: New Zealand, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany.