Issue of bullying in school

There is a growing awareness in Australia and other parts of the world about the level and impact of bullying in schools & society. This has generated a rising concern about the prevalence, seriousness and negative effects of bullying in schools, and has encouraged schools across the world to acknowledge their difficulties with bullying, and begin to address them.

While bullying is sometimes confused with harassment, aggression, violence or conflict, schools need to be clear about the definitions they use for each sort of behaviour, the language they use and the treatments they apply.  

The prevention of bullying in schools is now recognised as part of the human rights movement. It is part of the school’s duty of care towards students and staff, and a moral imperative for schools to address bullying and keep children safe.

Once a pattern of bullying in a schools has developed, it can become entrenched, because students continue to be in contact with each other over time and it is not easy for the target to walk away or leave the situation. Schools that do not address bullying can become places where the more powerful dominate the less powerful, a process and set of attitudes behind ‘domestic violence, child abuse, workplace violence, hate crimes and road rage'.

Schools implement a wide variety of anti-bullying programs.  These are most effective when part of a multi- faceted, systematic, whole-of-school approach, owned by the entire school community and continually revisited and renewed. Nevertheless, any work of this kind requires persistent effort and can never be regarded as complete.

We believe that approaches which focus on building and restoring relationships provide the safest environment for young people; places where they are more likely to disclose bullying happening to them and support others who are being bullied.

You may also be interested in

  • Defining bullying

    Bullying can continue over time, is often hidden from adults and will probably continue if no action is taken.

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  • Schools' duty of care

    Schools and their teaching staff have a duty to take reasonable care for the safety and wellbeing of students.

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  • Preventing bullying

    Major international reviews and evaluations have sought to identify the most effective approaches and strategies for preventing bullying.

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