Bullying at School

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This page has information about bullying at school and advice about what you can do if you are or have experienced this kind of violence. Bullying has direct links to domestic and family violence. Not only does it occur within the school community, it can also occur in the home environment between siblings and by young persons bullying a parent, especially their mother. If their mother is being subjected to abuse and violence by the other parent or partner, the likelihood of bullying by the young person may increase.

What is Bullying at School?

Bullying at school is when another student, or group of students, uses behaviour that is cruel or hurtful to you. This includes someone being physically violent, making threats or harassing you. Harassment means ongoing verbal or physical attacks against you.

Bullying includes things like:

  • teasing
  • calling you names
  • saying things to put you down or make fun of or humiliate you
  • excluding you from groups or activities
  • making nasty comments because of your race or your sex or your sexuality
  • pushing or hitting you or being violent in some other way
  • making threats or saying things that make you or others scared
  • forcing you to do silly or dangerous things
  • damaging, hiding or breaking your things
  • demanding money or food or other items
  • belittling your abilities and achievements
  • writing mean or spiteful notes or graffiti about you or others
  • making fun of how you look

Bullying can happen in the playground, in the toilets, going to and from school or in the classroom.

Bullying must be treated seriously. It can amount to a criminal offence, when there is physical violence, intimidation or even threats made to harm you.

There is lots of bullying in Australian schools. Research suggests that about one in five students have been bullied or harassed at some stage of their time at school. See the Lawstuff and the Bullying No Way! websites for more information.

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What can I do if I am Experiencing Bullying at School?

Tell someone what is happening to you.
If you are being bullied at school or outside school, tell someone about what is happening to you. You can do any of the following:

  • Talk to the School Counsellor and ask them to help you do something about it.
  • Tell your Parents so they can talk to the school about it.
  • Tell your Teachers or the Principal, so they can talk to and punish the bully/bullies.
  • Keep telling people, until someone helps you.

If you have a friend that is being bullied, try to support them. Talk to them about what is happening and ask them if you can help them to do something about it. You could offer to go with them to talk to the school counsellor or the teacher or the principal.

You can also call the Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800.

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Make a Formal Complaint to the School

Bullying is not OK and you don't have to put up with it. You have the right to feel safe. Your school has to make sure that students are not bullied or harassed and that it is a safe place for you to be.

If telling people is not enough to stop the bully's behaviour, you can make a formal complaint to the school. Ask your parents or someone you trust to help make the complaint if you need to.

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If you are not getting a satisfactory response from your school, you can contact a community legal centre and get legal advice. This is a free and confidential service. For contact details of the National Children's and Youth Law Centre and other Community Legal Centres, go to the Contact Us page of the NSW LawAccess website.

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Call the Police

If someone has been physically or sexually violent towards you, or threatened to be physically or sexually violent towards you, or has damaged or stolen your things, you can tell the police. These behaviours are against the law and if the bully is over 10 years of age, they could be charged or given a warning by the police.

For further information, go to the Personal Safety and Protective Behaviours page or the Help and Support Resources page of this website.

Bullying at School and in the Home

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