​​​​​​I'm being bullied

You have a right to feel safe and be safe. Being bullied can make you feel miserable and powerless but things can change.

There are things you can do, and doing something will help you feel like you are taking your power back.

Tell a teacher, parent or other adult or a friend who can help you. Remember, the sooner you report the bullying and take action, the sooner things can change.

You can also visit the Kids Helpline For Teens & Young Adults section or call them on 1800 55 1800. It is a free call, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

How you might feel
What can I do at school?
What can I do away from school?
What can I do online?
What can I do at work?

How you might feel

Bullying affects each person in different ways. Common feelings include:

  • ashamed that this is happening to you
  • hopeless and stuck and can't get out of the situation
  • like it is your fault
  • alone, like there is no one to help you
  • like you don't fit in with the cool group
  • depressed and rejected by your friends and other groups of people
  • unsafe and afraid
  • confused about why this is happening to you
  • stressed about what to do.

But, you're not alone and it's not okay. Watch I've been bullied (video) to see how other people who were bullied felt and how they changed things.

It's awful to feel this way, but it is not hopeless and there are things you can do. You don't have to feel like this.

Read stories about how other young people have been through tough situations.

A real life story of a girl who was bullied a​t school on the ReachOut site.

A real life story of a guy who was bullied at school on the ReachOut site.

What can I do at school?

Your school has a responsibility to ensure you have a safe learning environment free from violence, harassment and bullying. Your principal, teachers and school staff need to know about bullying so they can deal with it quickly.

Watch Dr Michael Carr-Gregg (Psychologist) talk about what​ you c​an do if you have been bullied.

Read What to do if you are being bullied (PDF, 180KB)(RTF, 55KB) for bullying in person, or Cybersafety for students (PDF, 63KB)(RTF, 66KB) for bullying online.

Talk to someone

Telling someone shares the problem. It helps you feel supported.

It's not dobbing or weak to tell someone. Bullying is not ok, ever!

It is really important to tell someone, particularly if the bullying has been going on for a while or the strategies you've tried haven't worked.

  • Talk to your friends—they can help you tell a teacher or your parents or just to feel better.
  • Talk to your parents—tell them the 'who, what, when and where' of what's been happening.
  • Talk to your teacher or another staff member—tell them the 'who, what, when and where'. If you don't want to do this where others might hear you, make an excuse to see the teacher about something else, for example your homework, and talk in private.
  • If you can't talk to someone face-to-face, Kids Helpline have online chat and email or you can phone on 1800 55 1800.

Try some strategies

These strategies should only be tried if you are not in any immediate danger of being physically hurt and you feel confident you can do them.

  • Ignore the bullying—turn your back and walk away.
  • Act unimpressed or pretend you don't care what they say or do to you. You could say 'Okay, whatever' and walk away.
  • Say 'No' or 'Just stop it' firmly.
  • Try using 'fogging' to distract or discourage the person without making them annoyed. Fogging means making a joke or funny comment that makes the other person think you don't care about what they say, or pretending to agree with them so they have nothing to bother you about. For example, you could casually say something general like, "Yeah, that's the way it is", or "Okay, since I'm so …. (using the person's bullying words); I'll cope. I better just go then, bye."

What can I do away from school

Bullying can happen anywhere. It can even happen in your family. If family members or others do things that hurt you, scare you, or make you feel bad about yourself, then this isn't okay.

Tell someone

Talk to a family member who can help you—tell them the 'who, what, when and where' of what has been happening. If you prefer, talk to your teacher or another staff member privately. Talk to a friend to get help to report it.

If you can't talk to someone face-to-face, Kids Helpline have online chat and email or you can phone on 1800 55 1800. It's a free call.

If you feel unsafe you can call the police.

What can I do online?

Bullying online can happen to anyone, anytime, and can leave you feeling unsafe and alone. Online bullying can be offensive and upsetting and you don't have to put up with it!

Tell someone

Tell an adult about the online bullying. This could be a parent or carer, relative, adult friend or teacher.

Your school may have policies in place to deal with bullying whether it happens in person or online if others students are involved.

If you're not comfortable to talk to someone face to face, Kids Helpline have online chat and email or you can phone on 1800 55 1800. It is a free call.

Protect yourself

You can protect yourself online or on your phone with a few simple strategies.

  • ​Do not retaliate and do not respond when you're angry or upset.
  • Give your phone number to friends only.
  • Keep your mobile phone away from those who shouldn't have your phone number.
  • Use ID blocking on your phone to hide your number when you call others.
  • Think before you send a text message or make a call.
  • Keep records of calls or messages that are offensive or hurtful.
  • Don't share your passwords, not even with friends. Things change, even good friendships.
  • Social media is a public space. Don't post anything you really wouldn't want others to see or know about.
  • Treat your friends how you would want to be treated.

Report it

For advice about reporting and direct links ​to social network and online gaming websites reporting pages, go to the Office of the Children's eSafety Commissioner website Social media services' safety centres.

Look for a Report abuse button if you are on social networking sites.​​

If you feel physically threatened, call the police in your state or territory.

Block, delete or report anyone who is harassing you online. Go to the Office of the Children's eSafety Commissioner Cyberbullying complaints to make a report.

For more information about online safety issues and what you need to know to protect yourself, go to the Office of the eSafety Commissioner website.

Change your privacy settings

For help, use the privacy features on your phone. Call your mobile company's customer care number:

"3": 133320
AAPT: 138886
Optus: 1300 300 937
Orange: 133488
Telstra: 125 111
Virgin: 1300 555 100
Vodaphone: 1300 650 410

For more tips about avoiding bullying via mobile phones visit the Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association website.

What can I do at work?

Your boss has a responsibility to provide a safe work environment where there is no violence, harassment or bullying.

Keep a record

Keep a diary of any bullying or harassing behaviours. Documenting everything that happens, including what you've done to try to stop it. This is useful if you make a complaint.

See if your work place has a bullying and harassment policy and a complaints procedure.

If you feel safe and confident, you can approach the person who is bullying or harassing you and tell them that their behaviour is unwanted and not acceptable.

If appropriate, tell them you will make a complaint. If you don't feel you can do this, th​at's okay.

Tell someone

The best person to talk to might be your supervisor/manager, a harassment contact officer, or a health and safety representative (if your work has one).

Otherwise, talk to your parents or another adult. If you don't have someone you can talk to face to face, there are support services which are available to help and support you. Get help and more information.

Get information and advice

If the bullying is having a serious impact on you, and the situation has not changed after reporting it to your manager (or someone else in charge), or if there isn't anyone you can safely talk to at work then you can get outside information and advice. You can get help from:

Make a formal complaint

Complain to the state and territory workplace health and safety authority or to the Australian Human Rights Commission about the sorts of discrimination, harassment and bullying that is covered by anti-discrimination law. You can contact them by email at complaintsinfo@humanrights.gov.au or on the phone 1300 656 419 (local call) or (02) 9284 9888.​

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