Government School State Level Policies on Bullying
Policy: Bullying Prevention and Response
Statement: Victorian schools must address bullying as part of their Student Engagement Policy (or have a separate standalone Bullying Prevention Policy) and implement strategies to prevent bullying as part of their duty of care.
- The bullying policy must be developed in consultation with the school community, should be clearly communicated, and reviewed every 2 to 3 years.
- All staff working with students have a duty of care to take reasonable steps to prevent students from foreseeable harm. This includes taking reasonable steps to prevent foreseeable physical or psychological harm occurring as a result of bullying
- The policy should be incorporated into school culture and discussed with the school community regularly.
New South Wales
Policy: Bullying of Students - Prevention and Response
Statement: NSW public schools and preschools must address the department's Behaviour Code for Students, it requires students to be inclusive and respect other students, their teachers, school staff, and community members, and to not bully, harass, intimidate, or discriminate against anyone in our schools.
- Each school must complete and implement the Anti-bullying plan.
- Preventing and responding to bullying is the shared responsibility of all school staff, volunteers, and contracted staff employed by schools, and students, parents and carers.
- Teachers have a duty of care to manage reports of bullying and escalate matters to the principal (or delegate) when necessary.
Policy: Bullying and cyberbullying—preventing and responding
Statement: The Department of Education is committed to making state schools safe and supportive places to learn and state that bullying and violence are not tolerated in Queensland state schools.
- All schools have the resources and supports necessary to prevent and respond appropriately to instances of bullying and cyberbullying among school aged students.
- All Queensland state schools have a Student Code of Conduct that they develop with their school community. This document includes information on how schools prevent and respond to bullying and cyberbullying incidents.
Policy: Bullying is a part of the Student Behaviour Management Policy
The Department for Education, Children and Young People does not tolerate any form of bullying in Tasmanian Government Schools.
- Preventing and responding to bullying, including cyberbullying, is a shared responsibility of all staff, students, parents and carers
- Schools have a responsibility to support students involved in bullying, including cyberbullying, which is affecting a student’s learning and/or wellbeing at school, even when the unacceptable behaviour has occurred off school campus and/or outside of school hours
- all reported incidents of bullying are taken seriously, responded to sensitively, appropriately investigated and addressed
Policy: Bullying prevention and response support tools and resources for schools
The state government has released a statewide Bullying Prevention Strategy focused on strengthening responses to children's bullying both inside and outside the school gates.
- Within the policy schools are urged to access resources for professional development around recognising and responding to bullying, bullying and cyberbullying policy and procedures and support around physical environment to support bullying prevention.
- All government schools must have a local bullying prevention policy.
Full details: https://www.education.sa.gov.au/students/health-safety-and-wellbeing/bullying-prevention-and-response-support-tools-and-resources-schools#responding-to-cyberbullying-and-online-safety-incidents-%E2%80%93-guidelines
Policy: Bullying is a part of the Safe Schools NT Code of Behaviour
Any behaviour that impacts the safety of students and teachers or disrupts learning is not acceptable.
- NT schools aim to create learning environments which are free from bullying, aggression and violence in any form.
Schools take the issue of bullying seriously, taking an active role in ensuring schools are educated in keeping students and staff safe.
- Every school is expected to have a safe, supportive, respectful and positive learning environment free from bullying, harassment, discrimination and violence, so student wellbeing and academic outcomes are maximised.
- legal advice for parents about sexting, image-based abuse, filming young people fighting, and cyberbullying from Legal Aid.
- Preventing bullying involves everyone talking together openly and respectfully.
Full details: https://www.education.wa.edu.au/bullying
10 Steps to Deal with School Bullying and Cyberbullying
- Recognise that bullying matters – because it hurts in the short and long term. It’s everybody’s responsibility.
- Be clear about what bullying is. It is an ongoing misuse of power in relationships through repeated aggressive verbal, physical and/or social behaviour online or offline, which intends to cause physical and/or psychological harm, distress or fear. Bullying almost always occurs alongside cyber bullying.
- Bullying is not mutual conflict between equals, single acts of nastiness or aggression or social rejection or dislike unless it is deliberate, repeated and intended to cause distress.
- Watch for the following signs because many children will rarely say what is happening to them (trouble at school, drop in academic performance, sleep and/or eating disorders, withdrawal from social activities).
- Never ignore a bullying or cyber bullying situation. Respond to it as a parent or teacher with respectful listening, noting down the particulars of the situation and how the young person wants it resolved. Usually they are not interested in punishing the person who is bullying them; they just want it to stop.
- Encourage young people to tell someone who can help and not to ignore bullying; it will not go away on its own.
- Explain to young people that retaliating physically or aggressively will usually make things worse.
- Strategies young people can practise to cope with bullying include walking away, acting unimpressed, or pretending not to notice. Online strategies can include blocking, strategic ignoring of the behaviour and saving evidence via screenshots.
- Encourage young people to have diverse friendship groups. It’s too easy to be excluded or sidelined if you only have a couple of friends.
- If bullying or cyber bullying is particularly serious (physical or deeply personal), the Office of the Children’s eSafety Commissioner or the police can be contacted. Before then, you might want to contact the Dolly’s Dream Support Line on 0488 881 033, Kids Helpline on 1800 551800 or Lifeline on 131114.
My child is being bullied but won’t talk to me. What should I do?
It can be difficult as a parent or carer when you suspect that your child is being bullied but they refuse to talk about it. While it’s important to respect your child’s privacy and boundaries, it’s also crucial to ensure that they receive the necessary support and protection. Here are some actionable tips that can help you navigate this difficult situation.
- Look for signs of bullying. Even if your child won’t talk to you, there are warning signs that can indicate that they are being bullied. These include physical injuries, changes in behaviour, difficulty sleeping or eating, avoidance of certain situations or places, and decreased self-esteem. It’s important to take these signs seriously and to investigate further. You can read up on more signs to look for here.
- Create a safe and supportive environment. Your child needs to feel safe and supported to feel comfortable sharing their experiences with you. Make sure that you create an open and non-judgmental space where your child can talk to you without fear of reprisal or criticism.
- Educate yourself about bullying. The more you know about bullying, the better equipped you will be to handle the situation. Take the time to read up on the subject, read more articles in our Parent Hub or take your family through our Family Tech Plan. Doing these activities will help you to understand the different types of bullying, its causes, and its effects.
- Start the conversation. If your child is reluctant to talk, don’t force them. Instead, look for opportunities to start the conversation in a gentle and non-threatening way. You could mention a news story about bullying or ask them about their day at school.
- Empathise and validate their feelings. It’s important to let your child know that you understand how they’re feeling and that their emotions are valid. Avoid dismissing their experiences, and instead offer them your support and reassurance.
- Take action. If you suspect that your child is being bullied, it’s important to act. Talk to their teacher or principal, and work together to develop a plan to keep your child safe. You may also want to seek the advice of a counsellor or therapist who can help your child cope with the emotional impact of bullying.
- Monitor your child’s online activity. In today’s digital age, bullying can take place online as well as in person. Keep an eye on your child’s online activity, and look for signs that they may be experiencing cyber bullying. These include changes in mood or behaviour, withdrawal from social media, and a reluctance to use their phone or computer.
- Encourage your child to seek help. It’s important that your child knows that they can seek help and support when they need it. Encourage them to talk to a teacher, counsellor, or trusted adult if they are feeling overwhelmed or threatened.
- Model positive behaviour. As a parent or carer, your behaviour and language can have a powerful impact on your child’s self-esteem and confidence. Make sure that you model positive and respectful behaviour in your interactions with others and avoid using derogatory language or making negative comments.
- Keep the conversation going. Talking about bullying should be an ongoing conversation, not just a one-time discussion. Check in with your child regularly and ask them how they’re feeling. Encourage them to share their experiences and continue to offer them your support and guidance.
Helping a child who won’t talk about bullying can be challenging. However, by creating a safe and supportive environment, educating yourself about bullying, and taking action, you can help your child feel supported and protected. Remember to model positive behaviour and keep the conversation going. With your help and support, your child can overcome the effects of bullying and emerge stronger and more resilient.
Please review our 'School Response Form' and 'How to ask for help if you are being bullied' resources at the bottom of this page for more actionable ways to combat bullying for your young person.