Bullying is never ok. It’s hurtful and can impact someone for a long time. Remember, you’re not alone. There are people you can talk to and things you can do to stop the bullying.

What is bullying?

Bullying happens when a person or a group of people repeatedly and intentionally use words or actions to cause distress and harm to another person’s wellbeing.

Bullying isn’t the same as a ‘normal’ conflict between people (such as having an argument or a fight) or simply disliking someone. It’s more about repeated behaviour by someone who has power or control over someone else.

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)
  • 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). But no matter what form bullying takes, the results can be the same: severe distress and pain for the person being bullied.

Young person crying

The different types of bullying

There are different types of bullying. Below are some of the more common forms:


Name calling or put downs, threats, teasing, ridiculing, intimidation and stalking.


Punching, tripping, kicking or stealing and/or destroying someone else’s property. Unwanted kissing or touching.


Leaving people out, not inviting someone to social occasions, stopping a conversation when someone walks in the room, gossiping, or talking about someone behind their back.

This can also include lying and spreading rumours; mimicking or making fun of unkindly; negative facial or physical gestures, menacing or contemptuous looks or playing nasty jokes to embarrass and humiliate.


Hurting someone using technology, via email, chat rooms, text messages, discussion groups, online social media, instant messaging or websites.

For example, being teased or made fun of online, having unpleasant comments, pictures or videos about you sent or posted on social media or websites, having someone use your screen name or password and pretending to be you to hurt someone else.

Bullying Statistics

Approximately one in four Year 4 to Year 9 Australian students (27%) reported being bullied every few weeks or more often (considered to be frequent) in a national study in 2009.

Frequent school bullying was highest among Year 5 (32%) and Year 8 (29%) students.

83% of students who bully others online also bully others in person.

84% of students who were bullied online were also bullied in person.

Peers are present as onlookers in 85% of bullying interactions, and play a central role in the bullying process.

1 in 9 workers reported being bullied in the workplace.

1 in 3 women and 1 in 5 men with mental health disorders cite bullying and harrassment as the main reason.