Bullying

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If you or someone you know need someone to talk to, for any reason, about anything, you can visit eHeadspace (new window), call Lifeline on 13 11 14, or call Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800, 24 hours a day.

Bullying describes a range of harmful and aggressive behaviours that deprive other individuals and groups of their rights. Bullying can include:

  • People calling you names
  • Threats and intimidation
  • Being teased
  • Being hit or attacked
  • Having rumours spread about you
  • Being ignored or left out
  • Having your belongings damaged or stolen
  • Cyber bullying (see below)
  • Workplace bullying (see below)

Bullies might make personal or offensive comments about your appearance, your family, your religion, your race or your culture. Bullying behaviour can be motivated by fear, jealousy, ignorance or misunderstanding.

Being the target of a bully can make you feel scared or upset. In some cases it can make you so worried you can't focus on school or homework.

If you're being bullied it's important to remember there's nothing wrong with you, and there are things that you can do to stop it happening.

What You Can Do About Bullying

You don't have to put up with bullying. It can be difficult to tackle a bully on your own, and sometimes it's still hard even if you do have the support of your friends. There are things that you can do, though, and people who can help.

Sometimes the best way to stop bullying is to tell an adult or someone in charge. You could tell a parent, grandparent, year level co-ordinator, teacher, school counsellor, or another adult you trust.

Often people don't tell anyone they're being bullied  because they're afraid the bully will find out. Although this is a natural fear, asking for help and letting someone else know what's going on can help break the cycle.

All schools are required to have anti-bullying policies and strategies that are included in the school's Student Code of Conduct. For example, your school might have assigned specific teachers to help with bullying. There might also be set procedures in place to help deal with bullying incidents. Talk to a trusted teacher or other staff member at your school to find out more about your school's bullying policies.

The Victorian Government's Bully Stoppers website has some advice on what to do and who you can talk to (new window) if you're being bullied.

Stand Up for a Friend

Some people worry that getting involved when someone else is being bullied will mean that they could end up being bullied or hassled too. However, bullying has been shown to stop within 10 seconds when bystanders take positive action. Speaking out about bullying could help other students as well.

The kind of positive action you might take could include:

  • Steping in and saying something
  • Supporting a friend
  • Report bullying to a teacher

These can all be powerful ways to change behaviour and show that bullying is not on. The more the message gets around that bullying will not be tolerated, the more open, just and equitable your school community will be!

The Victorian Government's Bully Stoppers website has some advice on what you can do if you know someone who's being bullied (new window).

Where to Get Help

There are lots of good resources online where you can hear about other people's experiences, find people to talk to and get advice about ways to stop or reduce bullying against you or someone you know.

  • Bully Stoppers (new window) has tips for students, parents, teachers and schools about beating bullying.
  • Reach Out! (new window) has a lot of resources and information about bullying and what you can do to stop it.

Check out the list of links at the end of this page for more helpful organisations.

Cyber Bullying

Cyber bullying is bullying using digital technology, like the internet or a mobile phone. It can include:

  • Abusive texts, tweets, emails or Facebook posts
  • Constant harassing messages
  • Sharing inappropriate images
  • Posting unkind message or images
  • Imitating others online
  • Excluding others online
  • Inappropriate image tagging
  • Inappropriate discussions

All bullying is nasty, but cyber bullying is different because it can reach a larger audience much faster, it’s hard to escape, and messages posted publicly are hard to remove.

To find out more about cyber bullying and safety online in general, check our our Cyber Bullying page, part of our Web & Social Safety section.

Workplace Bullying

Workplace bullying can include things like:

  • Practical jokes
  • Being criticised or insulted
  • Rumours being spread about you
  • Being threatened with losing your job
  • Being overloaded with work 

Everyone has the right to feel safe at work without the risk of getting injured. You should not be threatened, harassed or bullied at work.

If you’re the victim of workplace violence or bullying, check out our Bullying & Violence in the Workplace page for advice and helpful contact information.

If you or someone you know need someone to talk to, for any reason, about anything, you can visit eHeadspace (new window), call Lifeline on 13 11 14, or call Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800, 24 hours a day.

Links

Bully Stoppers
Tools and resources designed to help students, parents, teachers and principals to play their part in stopping bullying.

National Coalition Against Bullying
NCAB brings together a group of individuals from key organisations to draw national attention to the issue of bullying and to bring about a social change in our community.

Kids Helpline - 1800 55 1800
Kids Helpline is a free, 24-hour counselling service for young people aged 5-25 years. Counselling is offered by phone, email and over the web.

eHeadspace
eheadspace is a confidential, free and secure space where young people 12 - 25 or their family can chat, email or speak on the phone with a qualified youth mental health professional.

Lifeline
If you or someone you know need someone to talk to, for any reason, about anything, you can call Lifeline on 13 11 14 24 hours a day.