Who should I tell?
Talking with your school (click to expand)
If you are concerned your child is being bullied, harassed or physically hurt, talk to the school about your concerns. The best outcomes for your child will be achieved by you and the school working together.
Ask the school for a copy of your school's policies and any handouts or other information to help you to be involved. This information may also be on your school's website.
View this video for information on how to work with the school to achieve the best outcome for your child.
What can I expect the school to do? (click to expand)
Schools are aware of the potential harmful effects of bullying, including online bullying (cyberbullying), on young people and take reports of bullying seriously. While all Australian school communities are different and each student’s circumstances are different, there are some common actions schools take to address bullying.
Most schools have a policy about how they manage bullying. This might be part of larger policy, for example a behaviour policy, or it may be a specific anti-bullying policy.
The sooner the school receives information about a bullying issue, the quicker they can respond. School staff understand that it can be distressing to report that your child is being bullied. They will try to support you and your child as much as possible and include you in discussions about strategies that could be used.
Schools will consider your child’s circumstances and will develop the most appropriate strategies for them. These strategies could include:
- teaching and learning programs to develop students' communication, social, assertiveness and coping skills
- changes to the school environment such as removing bushes improve teacher supervision
- increasing supervision of students at particular times or places
- support from a guidance officer or school counsellor
- mediation for the students involved with a trained teacher or peer-mediator to resolve their problem
- changes to technology access at school
- timetable or class changes that may be temporary or permanent to decrease the contact the students have with each other
- disciplinary action against students who bully others.
An action plan may be developed for your child and any other children involved. Strategies you could use at home may also be included in a plan.
Schools must follow privacy laws and may not be able to tell you everything that has taken place, especially about any other children involved. These laws also keep you and your child’s information private too.
As availability to technology is rapidly increasing, bullying may extend beyond the school. If bullying happens online or via text messages outside school, report it to the school especially if other children from the school are involved.
Working together with the school is the best way to help your child resolve bullying issues.
This video is from the perspective of a principal about how Australian schools respond to bullying and some suggestions on how you can work with the school if your child has been bullied.
Source: Video scripts by Norm Fuller and Peter Garrigan in addition to the Working Together Parent Toolkit
Support from outside the school (click to expand)
Sometimes, you or your child might want to talk to someone outside the school about what is happening. The following organisations can provide support.
Help for young people
Kids Helpline (ages 5 to 25 years)
1800 55 1800 (free call except from some mobile phones)
24 hours a day, 7 days a week
Child Helpline International (for callers outside Australia)
Click on the 'Where We Work' tab for a world map to display. Select a continent or country and a list of relevant child helplines will display.
Parentline is a confidential telephone counselling service providing professional counselling and support for parents and those who care for children. Find the Parentline in your area on our Contacts page.
1300 30 1300 (cost of a local call)
8am to 10pm, seven days a week
Other helpful sites
Australian Psychology Society
Fact Sheets: Parenting guide to helping children managing conflict, aggression and bullying.
Family-School and Community Partnerships Bureau
Funded by the Australian government, the Family-School & Community Partnerships Bureau fosters parental engagement and community involvement in schools. It conducts research, and provides resources and practical support and advice to parents, principals, teachers and others about how to build and sustain partnerships.
Parents and Friends of Lesbian and Gay Students (PFLAG) is an international peer support group that has been operating in Australia for over 30 years
Raising Children Network
The Australian parenting website provides links to a range of national and state resources, services and support organisations for parents and families of all kinds.