Bullying & cyberbullying

Find out what to do if you experience or witness bullying or cyberbullying.

Bullying is any persistent intentional behaviour toward another person which is intended to cause harm, fear, or distress. It includes threats, harassment, stalking, coercion, aggressive behaviour, and physical assault.

Cyberbullying is bullying that occurs online, through email, phones and other devices. Cyberbullying includes threats and stalking via the internet, and accessing another person’s internet accounts without permission.

What to do

Download the  Bullying fact sheet.

Take action to stop the behaviour

  • Tell the person their behaviour is inappropriate, and you don’t like it.
  • Ask the person to stop the behaviour.
  • Walk away from the bully and ignore the behaviour.
  • Ask the person to remove harmful or offensive content online.
  • Block the person online.
  • Do not respond to messages.

Seek advice & support

  • Tell someone you trust about the behaviour, e.g. a friend, family member or a counsellor.
  • Talk about how the behaviour has affected you.
  • Ask for their advice and support about how to respond or deal with the bully and their behaviour.
  • Seek help from a professional support service, such as Headspace on 1800 650 890 or Bully Zero Foundation on 1800 028 559.
  • Think about positives in your life, e.g. your strengths, goals and plans.
  • Spend time doing things you enjoy and seeing people you like.

Record & report the behaviour

  • Keep a record of the bully’s behaviour, what happened and when, as well what you did to try and stop the behaviour.
  • Keep any evidence of the behaviour, including photos of bruises, emails and messages, screenshots of posts or comments.
  • Report the behaviour to the social media site, e.g. Facebook or Twitter.
  • Report the behaviour or seek advice, assistance and support from the University:
    • Discuss you concerns with teaching staff for support and referrals.
    • Report an incident to campus security.
    • Safer Community provide advice, assistance and referrals, including appropriate safety arrangements.
    • Student Matters provide advice, information and complaint resolution.
    • Discrimination, Harassment and Bullying Contact Officers provide information and to discuss your options.
    • Counselling provide free and confidential support, contact 9919 5400 for an appointment.
    • Advocacy provide independent representation and assistance with University processes, including special consideration.
  • If you feel unsafe or threatened, report the behaviour to the Police.

Be a supportive bystander

Bystanders are an important part of the solution to bullying and cyberbullying.

People make decisions and continue behaviours based on the reactions they get from others. We are a bystander any time we interact with others - we can either promote positive and healthy behaviours, or harmful ones.

If you witness bullying, and if you feel safe to do so, you can take the following actions:

  • Make it clear you will not be involved in the bullying behaviour.
  • Never stand by and watch bullying behaviour.
  • Tell the bully to stop the behaviour.
  • Do not engage in violence or aggression.
  • Support the person who is being bullied, ask if they are ok and how you can help.
  • Talk to someone in authority or someone you trust to seek help.
  • Discuss options for support services with the person.

Bystander resources

Statistics about bullying

Infographic text displayed on page.
  • 20% of young people experience bullying
  • 20% experience cyber bullying
  • 17% are bullied every week

Perpetrators of bullying

  • 11% of male and 7% of females bully others
  • 88% are known to the victim
  • 68% are older than the victim

Victim’s response to bullying

  • 65% ignore
  • 38% fight back
  • 35% do nothing
  • 21% made joke

Victim’s experience

  • feel depressed, lonely, anxious, fearful
  • experience difficulties in school, work and social life.

Large infographic: bullying

Developed by Safer Community, Victoria University

Sources: Cross et al., 2009