Bullying is repeated verbal, physical, social or psychological behaviour that is harmful and involves the misuse of power by an individual or group towards one or more persons. Cyberbullying refers to bullying through information and communication technologies.

Bullying can involve humiliation, domination, intimidation, victimisation and all forms of harassment including that based on sex, race, disability, homosexuality or transgender. Bullying of any form or for any reason can have long-term effects on those involved including bystanders.

Bullying can happen anywhere: at school, travelling to and from school, in sporting teams, between neighbours or in the workplace.

Bullying behaviour can be:

  • verbal eg name calling, teasing, abuse, putdowns, sarcasm, insults, threats
  • physical eg hitting, punching, kicking, scratching, tripping, spitting
  • social eg ignoring, excluding, ostracising, alienating, making inappropriate gestures
  • psychological eg spreading rumours, dirty looks, hiding or damaging possessions, malicious SMS and email messages, inappropriate use of camera phones.

Conflict or fights between equals and single incidents are not defined as bullying. Bullying behaviour is not:

  • children not getting along well
  • a situation of mutual conflict
  • single episodes of nastiness or random acts of aggression or intimidation.