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 is bullying?
Bullying can mean a range of harmful and aggressive behaviours that 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 'cyber bullying')
- workplace bullying (see 'bullying at work').
Bullies might make personal or offensive comments about your appearance, your family, your religion, your race or your culture. Bullying 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.
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. Sometimes it's hard even if you do have the support of your friends. There are things that you can do, though, and people who can help.
Talk to someone
Sometimes the best way to stop bullying is to tell an adult or someone in charge. You could tell:
- a parent or guardian
- a grandparent
- your year level co-ordinator
- a teacher
- a manager or colleague
- a school counsellor
- another adult you trust.
Often people don't tell anyone they're being bullied because they're afraid the bully will find out. This is a natural fear, but asking for help and letting someone else know what's going on can help break the cycle.
The Bully Stoppers website has some advice on what to do and who you can talk to 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 victims as well.
The kind of positive action you might take could include:
- stepping in and saying something
- supporting a friend
- reporting 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, work or community will be.
The Bully Stoppers website has some advice on what you can do if you know someone who's being bullied.
Cyberbullying is bullying using digital technology, like the internet or a phone. It can include:
- abusive texts, emails or posts
- constant harassing messages
- sharing inappropriate images
- posting unkind message or images
- imitating or impersonating others online
- excluding others online
- inappropriate image tagging
- inappropriate discussions.
All bullying is bad, but cyber bullying can reach a larger audience much faster. It can be harder to escape, and messages posted publicly are hard to remove.
To find out more about cyber bullying and online safety online, visit our Cyberbullying page.
Bullying at work
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 shouldn't be threatened, harassed or bullied at work.
If you’re the victim of workplace violence or bullying, our Bullying and violence at work page has advice about what you can do and who you can contact.
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 - tips for students, parents, teachers and schools about beating bullying.
- Reach Out! - resources, information and stories about bullying and what you can do to stop it.
- eHeadspace - a confidential, free and secure space providing access to qualified mental health professionals.
- Kids Helpline - call 1800 55 1800 for a free, 24-hour counselling service for people aged 5-25.
- Lifeline - call 13 11 14 at any time of day if you or someone you know need someone to talk to, for any reason, about anything.
- National Centre Against Bullying - bullying advice for students, parents and schools.