Bullying – What is it? What can I do?

Black and white image of a girl with her hand extended signaling to stop (image focused on her hands) Her hand says "stop bullying"
What is Bullying?

Bullying is when a person, or a group of people, do or say things to have power over another person on a repeated basis. Bullying can include: hurting someone physically; deliberately leaving someone out; putting someone down using cruel words or name calling; spreading gossip or rumours about someone; and sending hurtful messages or images through text or social media.

Reasons some girls with a disability are bullied, include:

  • looks (everything from hair & clothes, to skin & breast size)
  • popularity and sociability
  • family and home-life
  • being awkward or a ‘clutz’
  • having a speech impairment
  • having difficulty learning the same way as other children
  • not having good social or emotional skills
  • mental health issues
  • being lesbian, bisexual or transgender
  • race, culture or religion

Reasons why people bully:

  • Often they do not realise how much their words are hurting others.
  • Sometimes, a bully is having trouble at home and needs a way to express their emotions. Unfortunately, they have chosen a bad way that does not help them and hurts the person being bullied as well.
  • Sometimes, a person will bully to look ‘cool’, and avoid being bullied by their “friends”.

lonely girl is sitting on a wheelchair on the street while the other people in the background are pointing at her

What can I do if I’m being bullied?

  • Even if you don’t think it will help, tell someone! Talk to a trusted adult about it, like a parent or a teacher.
  • Bullies love getting a reaction, so practice acting uninterested and superior. When they try to get you upset, or exclude you, just pretend to be fine. Only respond to hurtful or mocking statements with short sentences like “whatever” or “yep, ok”.
  • Look for other friendship groups, either in school or outside of school in safe environments (e.g. clubs, youth groups, or sports teams).
  • If you’re being cyberbullied: do not retaliate, tell a trusted adult, and block the person sending them.
  • Call the Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800.
  • Visit the Bullying No Way! webpage www.bullyingnoway.gov.au


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