How Can We Stop It?


If your child has been bullied

There are six key steps for parents if their child tells them they have been bullied:
  • Listen calmly to what your child wants to say and make sure you get the full story
  • Reassure your child that they are not to blame and ask open and empathetic questions to find out more details
  • Ask your child what they want to do and what they want you to do
  • Discuss with your child some sensible strategies to handle the bullying – starting a fight is not sensible
  • Contact the school and stay in touch with them
  • Check in regularly with your child

If they are being physically bullied tell them to:
  • Avoid areas which allow the bullying students to avoid detection by teachers
  • Stay with other students
  • Talk to an adult at school or home who can help stop the bullying
  • Keep asking for support until the bullying stops

If they are being verbally bullied suggest that they:
  • Ignore the bully
  • Tell them to stop and then walk away
  • Pretend you don't care, try to act unaffected or unimpressed
  • Try to deflect the bullying (e.g. pretending to agree in an offhand way 'okay, yeah, maybe')
  • Go somewhere else
  • Get support from their friends
  • Talk to an adult at the school or at home who can help stop the bullying
  • Keep asking for support until the bullying stops

If they are being bullied online or electronically advise them to:
  • Avoid responding to the bullying
  • Block and report anyone who is bullying online
  • Protect themselves online – use privacy settings and keep records.

If you are told or suspect that your child is bullying others

Talk to them about:
  • Why they have been behaving this way
  • Taking responsibility for their behavior
  • How to sort out differences and resolve conflicts
  • How to treat others with respect
  • The effect of bullying on others
  • The need to repair harm they have caused to others
  • The need to restore relationships

Parents may also like to talk to their child's school to come up with a plan to help their child learn more appropriate ways to behave. Efforts to address bullying by schools are unlikely to succeed if the school and home are treated as separate settings.

Parents who are child-centred (focused on the child's experience), warm and authoritative (firm and reasonable about their authority over the child) have an overall positive influence in reducing both the likelihood of bullying happening and impact if it does happen.

Refer to this for more information.


If you are being bullied

In Person:
  • ignore them
  • tell them to stop and then walk away
  • pretend you don’t care - try to act unaffected or unimpressed
  • go somewhere safe
  • talk to an adult at the school or at home
  • get support from your friends; ask friends, parents or teachers for their help to deal with the issue safely

  • don't respond to the message or image
  • save the evidence as a screenshot if you wish to use it as part of dealing with the bullying
  • block the sender and delete the message
  • report the situation to the website or Internet Service Provider
  • talk to trusted people—friends, adults, teachers, parents and police if necessary

Having the courage to talk to someone is important if you are being bullied. Sometimes, just telling someone firmly to stop bullying you can be effective. If that doesn’t work, ask friends, parents or teachers for their help to deal with the issue safely.

If you see someone else being bullied you can:

  • refuse to join in
  • not watch
  • tell the person doing the bullying to stop
  • tell the person doing the bullying that you will talk to a teacher
  • say something supportive to the person who is being bullied or invite them to join your group
  • say to the person being bullied that the other person’s behavior is not okay
  • leave negative online conversations – don’t join in with online bullying

Visit this link for more information


What can schools do if bullying is happening?

In creating and maintaining a safe and supportive school environment, strategies to address bullying include:
  • preventing bullying through promoting a positive whole-school culture based on values agreed to by the whole school community
  • intervening early in suspected or identified bullying issues and communicating clearly with all involved
  • responding to bullying incidents with approaches which have been shown to be effective
  • These elements need to be outlined in the school's policy and other relevant documents

Not all hurtful behaviors are bullying, but schools address inappropriate behavior whether or not it meets the definition of bullying. Bullying that appears to involve criminal behavior such as violence, threats, intimidation, inciting violence, etc., should be reported to the police (in line with school guidelines) and will require management by the school to ensure the risks to student safety are reduced.

School policy on bullying

Most schools have a written policy about how they manage student behavior, including bullying. The school’s policy is an important place to articulate the school community’s shared understanding of bullying and how best to respond, and the agreed preventative and responsive strategies to be implemented within the school. It fosters collaboration between home and school to counter bullying. The involvement of students as well as parents and carers in developing and implementing the school’s policy help to create a document that is useful for all members of the school community.

Effective approaches to bullying

Effective school responses to bullying incidents are:
  • dsolution-focused
  • relationship-based
  • at the school level, the class level, the student level, and
  • based on strong links between parents and schools

Students who bully others need to understand that their behavior is not acceptable and need to learn more appropriate ways to behave and to resolve conflicts. School staff may also need to address the underlying causes for the bullying. Staff and other students need to be taught what to do if they witness bullying happening.

Effective approaches to student bullying include restorative practices, conflict management, equalising power imbalances amongst students, and social skills development. More than one method of addressing bullying may be needed as no single approach is appropriate or effective in all circumstances or for all people. Dealing with bullying can be complex and challenging. Both short and long-term approaches need to be adopted, including regular reviews of policy and procedures and monitoring of progress using the school's data.

Importance of Bystanders

Everyone plays a part in ensuring the safety and wellbeing of others – parents, staff, students and community members. It is essential that these members of the school community know how to deal with incidents of bullying effectively and safely. It is important to note, however, that the majority of people are not involved in bullying.

Students who bully others often aim to impress or intimidate bystanders. The reaction of bystanders can either support or discourage bullying from happening. If bystanders do nothing, this can be seen as a form of silent approval. Supportive bystander behaviors are actions and/or words that are intended to support someone who is being bullied. The actions of a supportive bystander can stop or diminish a specific bullying incident or help the bullied student to recover from it. The attitude and reaction of bystanders can affect the culture of the school. Social disapproval of bullying can prevent bullying from occurring and help to stop it when it is happening.

Training in how to intervene safely assists in effective bystander behavior. The majority of students do not want bullying to occur, but often don't know how to stop it. Schools can help students learn what to do when bullying occurs.

What doesn't work when dealing with bullying?

Short-term 'solutions' alone, like punishing the student doing the bullying, do not improve the relationships and social factors which allow the bullying to happen. Although the bullying may stop in the short-term, unless these factors are addressed, it is very likely to recur or be hidden. Punishment as the only intervention is not effective in preventing bullying. Interventions need to be matched to the particular circumstance of the bullying. No single approach to bullying is appropriate or effective in all circumstances or for all people. If the school’s response to bullying further disempowers students who have been bullied or fosters a negative school culture, this can make the situation worse.

What is the role of school climate?

Schools that are responsive to students’ needs and have a whole-school approach to optimizing student wellbeing experience lower levels of bullying. This includes the explicit teaching and modeling of positive values and wellbeing through a social and emotional learning curriculum and pastoral care. Anti-bullying campaigns and programs are just one aspect of the work that schools need to do to counter bullying. The long-term aim is to foster a school culture based on positive values and supportive relationships which feature respect, inclusion, belonging and cooperation.

What can schools teach students about online safety?

Online safety (or cybersafety) refers to a broad range of safe, respectful and responsible behaviors as well as ways to guard security and privacy online. Online safety is one way to reduce the risk of bullying, identity theft or predatory behavior by others online. Students need to be taught safe and appropriate online behavior, which includes recognizing when someone’s online behavior is bullying, how to avoid engaging in or supporting online bullying, and being aware of the sort of support that bystanders can provide online.

Visit this link for more information on how schools can help stop bullying

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