Overview

Bullying is really common and can happen to anyone.  There are many different things you might be able to do if you are being bullied or you know someone who is. Different strategies can work in different situations, check out this page for videos and a detailed factsheet covering being a supportive bystander to your rights.

Topic Videos

Jess's Story - Binge Drinking

Watch Jess' story about her experience of binge drinking and managing family relationships.

  • Author: Reach Out
  • Upload Date: 2013-03-01

Created by Reach Out

Stories on this Topic

Featured Story (text)

Is it Ok to see a counsellor

Is it Ok to see a counsellor


A work by Xin

I had a pretty bad time in high school. Without going into details, I was bullied, I knew what it was like to be hurt and alone, I felt angry, sad, and eventually I felt nothing. I was not okay, and I knew I was not okay, but no one else seemed to care. None of my friends were willing to really open up to me. It was like I was drowning and I was surrounded by people in boats, but none of them were willing to risk reaching out to me.

Read the full story about is it Ok to see a counsellor on the blog

Click to read the text

As part of our blog series Xin takes a personal look into the question, is it Ok to see a counsellor.

  • Author: Xin
  • Upload Date: 2013-02-25

Written by Xin as part of our blog section.

Factsheet

Provided by Reach Out

We have partnered with Reach Out to bring you the best factsheet information we can on this topic. Reach Out offers information, support and resources to help young people improve their understanding of mental health issues, develop resilience, and increase their coping skills and help-seeking behaviour.

What is bullying?

This factsheet covers

  • What is bullying
  • Being a supportive bystander
  • Cyberbullying
  • Bullying - Your Rights

If you are being bullied and need support, it is important that you read this factsheet and go to the Get Help section. If you know or see someone being bullied go to the Being a supportive bystander section below to find out how to help them.

help from bullyingBullying is when people repeatedly and intentionally use words or actions against someone or a group of people to cause distress and risk to their wellbeing. These actions are usually done by people who have more influence or power over someone else, or who want to make someone else feel less powerful or helpless.

Bullying is not the same as conflict between people (like having a fight) or disliking someone, even though people might bully each other because of conflict or dislike.

The sort of repeated behaviour that can be considered bullying includes:

  • Keeping someone out of a group (online or offline)
  • Acting in an unpleasant way near or towards someone
  • Giving nasty looks, making rude gestures, calling names, being rude and impolite, and constantly negative teasing.
  • Spreading rumours or lies, or misrepresenting someone (i.e. using their Facebook account to post messages as if it were them)
  • Mucking about that goes too far
  • Harassing someone based on their race, sex, religion, gender or a disability
  • Intentionally and repeatedly hurting someone physically
  • Intentionally stalking someone
  • Taking advantage of any power over someone else like a Prefect or a Student Representative.

Bullying can happen anywhere. It can be in schools, at home, at work, in online social spaces, via text messaging or via email. It can be physical, verbal, emotional, and it also includes messages, public statements and behaviour online intended to cause distress or harm (also known as Cyberbullying - see below for more info). But no matter what form bullying takes, the results can be the same: severe distress and pain for the person being bullied.

Types of bullying

(source: National Safe Schools Framework )

Face-to-face bullying (sometimes referred to as direct bullying) involves physical actions such as punching or kicking or direct verbal actions such as name-calling and insulting.

Covert bullying (sometimes referred to as indirect bullying) is less direct, but just as painful. It means bullying which isn’t easily seen by others and is conducted out of sight, such as excluding people from groups or spreading lies or rumours. Because it is less obvious, it is often unacknowledged by adults.

Cyberbullying occurs through the use of information or communication technologies such Instant Messaging or chat, text messages, email and social networking sites or forums. It has many similarities with offline bullying, but it can also be anonymous, it can reach a wide audience, and sent or uploaded material can be difficult to remove. Most people who cyberbully also bully off-line.

How can bullying affect you?

Bullying affects everyone in different ways. But there are common feelings that come up when you are being bullied.

How bullying can affect individuals:

  • Feeling guilty like it is your fault
  • Feeling hopeless and stuck like you can’t get out of the situation
  • Feeling alone, like there is no one to help you
  • Feeling like you don’t fit in with the cool group
  • Feeling depressed and rejected by your friends and other groups of people
  • Feeling unsafe and afraid
  • Feeling confused and stressed out wondering what to do and why this is happening to you
  • Feeling ashamed that this is happening to you

How bullying can affect other people:

Bullying can have a negative impact on everyone – it is not just a problem for victims and bullies. If you see or know of others been bullied you may feel angry, fearful, guilty, and sad.

You may feel as bad as those who are being bullied.

You may also feel worried that the bullying could happen to you.

When bullying isn’t stopped or challenged by anyone it can create an environment where bullying is accepted and where everyone feels powerless to stop it.

Know your rights

You have a right to feel safe and to be treated fairly and respectfully. Bullying is is a serious problem with serious mental and physical impacts. Bullying can violate many of your human rights including:

  • your right to be free from mental, emotional and physical violence
  • your right to education
  • your right to a safe work environment

For more information about your rights go to the Bullying - Know Your Rights section below.

Why do people bully others?

People bully for different reasons. Those who bully persistently are likely to do so in order to dominate others and improve their social status. They may have high self esteem, show little regret for their bullying behaviour and not see bullying as morally wrong.

Other people may bully out of anger or frustration, they may struggle socially and could have also been victims of bullying.

What can you do to stop bullies?

  • If you know or see someone who is being bullied, check out the information below on being a supportive bystander
  • If you are being bullied, you should talk to someone you know well and trust; they will give you much needed support and will often have suggestions you hadn't considered for helping with the situation.
  • You might feel more comfortable taking a friend with you to talk to the bully or when seeking help. If you feel you might get too nervous to speak, write down what you'd like to say on paper or in an email.
  • If you feel safe and confident, you should approach the person who is bullying you and tell them that their behaviour is unwanted and not acceptable.
  • If you are being bullied while at school, it is a good idea to seek help from a friend, or to talk to a teacher or counsellor to see if they can help.
  • If you are being bullied at work, check out this factsheet by Reach Out.

Being a supportive bystander

bullying help and support

Be a supportive bystander and help make difference

A bystander is someone who sees or knows about bullying or other forms of violence that is happening to someone else.

Bystanders can be either part of the bullying problem or an important part of the solution to stop bullying.

Bystanders can act in different ways when they see or know about bullying:

  1. Some bystanders take the side of the bully by laughing at the victim, encouraging the bully or by passing on text messages or messages on social media sites like Facebook and YouTube
  2. Some bystanders will give silent approval or encourage the bully by looking on
  3. Some bystanders may watch or know about the bullying but don’t do anything. They may not know what to do or are scared. This group of bystanders knows that bullying is not ok.
  4. Some bystanders will be supportive and take safe action to stop the bully, find help or support the victim

Supportive bystanders

Just as we have human rights we also have responsibilities to respect and protect the rights of others. A supportive bystander will take action to protect the rights of others.

A supportive bystander will use words and/or actions that can help someone who is being bullied.

If bystanders are confident to take safe and effective action to support victims then there is a greater possibility that bullying can stop and the person who is bullied can recover.

People respect those that stand up for others who are bullied but being a supportive bystander can be tough. Sometimes it is not easy to work out how to help safely because bullying happens in different ways and places such as online, at work or school.

There is no one size fits all approach to being a supportive bystander.  For supportive bystanders to take safe and effective action here are some suggestions:

  • Make it clear to your friends that you won’t be involved in bullying behaviour
  • Never stand by and watch or encourage bullying behaviour
  • Do not harass, tease or spread gossip about others, this includes on social networking sites like Facebook
  • Never forward on or respond to messages or photos that may be offensive or upsetting
  • Support the person who is being bullied to ask for help e.g. go with them to a place they can get help or provide them with information about where to go for help
  • Report it to someone in authority or someone you trust e.g. at school to a teacher, or a school counsellor; at work to a manager; if the bullying is serious, report it to the police; if the bullying occurs on Facebook, report it to Facebook.

Check out some of the videos at the top of this page for some great comebacks and freak em out option.

Get Help

If you have been bullied or witnessed others been bullied and need help contact:

Kids Help Line (1800 55 1800) is a free and confidential, telephone counseling service for 5 to 25 year olds in Australia. http://www.kidshelp.com.au/

Lifeline (13 11 14) is a free and confidential service staffed by trained telephone counsellors. http://www.lifeline.org.au

The Australian Human Rights Commission (1300 656 419) has a complaint handling service that may investigate complaints of discrimination, harassment and bullying http://www.humanrights.gov.au/complaints_information/index.html

Cyberbullying

bullying is not OKCyberbullying is bullying that is done through the use of technology. For example, using the Internet, a mobile phone or a camera to hurt or embarrass someone is considered cyberbullying. It can be shared widely with a lot of people quickly, which is why it is so dangerous and hurtful.

What happens with cyberbullying?

  • A lot of people can view or take part in it
  • It is often done in secret with the bully hiding who they are by creating false profiles or names, or sending anonymous messages
  • It is difficult to remove as it is shared online so it can be recorded and saved in different places
  • It is hard for the person being bullying to escape if they use technology often
  • The content (photos, texts, videos) can be shared with a lot of people
  • This content may also be easy to find by searching on a web browser like Google.

What does cyberbullying look like?

  • Being sent mean or hurtful text messages from someone you know or even someone you don’t know
  • Getting nasty, threatening or hurtful messages through social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, or through sites where people can ask / answer questions like Formspring or Internet forums
  • People sending photos and videos of you to others to try and embarrass or hurt you
  • People spreading rumours about you via emails or social networking sites or text messages
  • People trying to stop you from communicating with others
  • People stealing your passwords or getting into your accounts and changing the information there
  • People setting up fake profiles pretending to be you, or posting messages or status updates from your accounts

Feelings you may be having if you are being bullied

  • Feeling guilty like it is your fault
  • Feeling hopeless and stuck like you can’t get out of the situation
  • Feeling alone, like there is no one to help you
  • Feeling like you don’t fit in with the cool group
  • Feeling depressed and rejected by your friends and other groups of people
  • Feeling unsafe and afraid
  • Feeling confused and stressed out wondering what to do and why this is happening to you
  • Feeling ashamed that this is happening to you

Being safe from bullies online:

  • Do not share your private information like passwords, name and address, phone numbers with people you don’t know. This can also include sharing of photos of yourself, your friends and your family
  • Don’t respond to messages when you are angry or hurt - either to strangers and also to people you know. This will often encourage them to continue or increase their harassment of you
  • Log out and stop messaging if you feel you are being harassed
  • Remember you have the option to block, delete and report anyone who is harassing you online and on your mobile
  • Find out how to report bullying and harassment on each of the different social networks that you use
  • Keep a record of calls, messages, posts and emails that may be hurtful or harmful to you
  • Remember to set up the privacy options on your social networking sites like Facebook in a way you are comfortable with

It is important to know that each state and territory in Australia has different laws for Bullying. Lawstuff provides legal information to children and young people in Australia. Please click on your State or Territory below to get legal information related to Cyberbullying in your area:

NSW: ACT: SA: WA: NT: QLD: TAS: VIC:

To find out about cyberbullying and how to get help you can also go to the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) Cybersmart Program

Getting Help

If you have been bullied or witnessed others been bullied and need help contact:

Kids Help Line (1800 55 1800) is a free and confidential, telephone counseling service for 5 to 25 year olds in Australia. http://www.kidshelp.com.au

Lifeline (13 11 14) is a free and confidential service staffed by trained telephone counsellors. http://www.lifeline.org.au

The Australian Human Rights Commission (1300 656 419) has a complaint handling service that may investigate complaints of discrimination, harassment and bullying
http://www.humanrights.gov.au/complaints_information/index.html

Bullying - Your Rights

bullying your rightsHuman rights are important for everyone, everywhere, every day.  All of our human rights are equally important and should be respected by everyone.

You have a right to feel safe and to be treated fairly and respectfully. Bullying or harassment can be a violation of these rights.

Bullying is an abuse of your human rights. It is a serious problem with serious mental and physical impacts. Bullying can affect you at home, school, work, in your social life and in your ability to feel happy, healthy and secure.

It is up to governments, schools, workplaces and individuals (including you) to make sure that every human right is respected.

Some of your rights that could be violated by bullying include:

  • Your right to be free from mental, emotional and physical violence. Bullying is a form of violence. You have a right to be in a supportive environment (be that at school, work or online) that is respectful, safe and free from violence.
  • Your right to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health. Bullying can cause physical injuries, depression and other health issues.
  • Your right to survival and development. Bullying can have serious impact on your physical, mental, spiritual, moral and social development
  • Your right to work and have a fair and safe workplace. Bullying at work can lead to physical and mental stress and depression. It can stop you being able to do your job well and cause you to need increased days off work.
  • Your right to leisure and play. Bullying that occurs in places you play and socialise such as at school and on social networking sites and can impact on your ability to relax and enjoy different activities
  • Your right to education. Bullying at school can make you feel unsafe and unwelcome. It can impact on your concentration and your mental and physical health. This may affect how well you do at school.
  • Your right to participate and have your voice heard. Bullying can make you feel unsafe and prevent you from expressing your feelings and opinions at school, home, work, and with your friends.  You have the right to express your views, to have your concerns taken seriously and to participate in decisions that directly affect you.
  • Your right to privacy. Bullying, in particular cyberbullying can make things that are personal public. You have a right to have your privacy respected by others.

Some people say that bullying is part of the experience of growing up. But bullying is never OK.

Responsibilities

Individuals

Just as we are all born with human rights we also have responsibilities to respect and protect the rights of others.  This means that it is important to always be respectful of other people. We all have a responsibility to avoid all forms of bullying, including spreading gossip or making offensive comments about others online.

Respecting the rights of others applies to everyone, including people who are your friends and those who are not, people who are isolated, new to your school or workplace or may not be very popular.

If you see someone that has been bullied or treated badly you may be able to take safe and effective action to support them. Bullying is everyone’s problem. We are all part of the solution. Please read section above related to being a supportive bystander. A bystander is someone who sees or knows about bullying or other forms of violence that is happening to someone else. Bystanders can be either part of the bullying problem or an important part of the solution to stop bullying.

School and work

Your school has a responsibility to provide a safe learning environment free from violence, harassment and bullying. This protects your right to education.

Your boss has a responsibility to provide a safe work environment where there is no violence, harassment and bullying. This protects your right to work.

Government

Your human rights are protected by international human rights laws that the Australian government has agreed to uphold.

In Australia there are also laws that protect you from some forms of bullying and harassment. Some helpful information on where to go is provided on the workplace bullying factsheet.

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Tell us how you have positively managed this topic and help others find their way through...

8 Responses to “Bullying”

  1. lynz says:

    Boy gets caught with his pants down – a cyber bullying video with a difference, Really makes you think.http://www.youtube.com/watchvCBjiaytbt5Xwk

  2. [...] check out our page on bullying, we have a section on cyber bullying and some great resources and [...]

  3. Angel says:

    POOR PEOPLE :( :( :( :( :( :(

  4. jaydog says:

    bulleying is a meany

  5. Tam says:

    Hi my daughter is being bullied at school by people that used to be her friends. It is breaking my heart What can I do?

    • lynz says:

      Hi Tam, so sorry to hear that your daughter is having to go through that – it is just not fair. Check out the factsheet on this page for some info, also check out this great info here aimed at parents http://www.amf.org.au/forparents/ It is wonderful your daughter has your support and love. Lynz

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