Swinburne students take a stand against bullying

Wednesday 19 June 2019

students in brodies law session

Diploma of Community Services students at Swinburne’s Croydon campus recently took part in sessions as part of the ‘Take a Stand Against Bullying’ campaign.

In summary

  • Students at Swinburne's Melbourne campuses are taking part in anti-bullying sessions led by Brodie's Law Foundation
  • Brodie's Law Foundation is based one day a week at Swinburne's Croydon campus
  • Brodie's Law has made serious bullying a crime punishable by up to 10 years in jail in Victoria

Students across Swinburne’s Melbourne campuses are participating in the ‘Take a Stand Against Bullying’ campaign led by Brodie’s Law Foundation. 

Presentations are held weekly in Hawthorn, Croydon and Wantirna, to explain what constitutes bullying and bystander behaviour. The sessions unpack the cycle of abuse and offer tips on how to speak up and where to get help.  

What is Brodie’s Law?

Damian and Rae Panlock established Brodie’s Law Foundation in memory of their 19-year-old daughter, Brodie. Brodie tragically took her own life in September 2006 after being relentlessly bullied by her co-workers at a cafe in Hawthorn.

None of those responsible for bullying Brodie were charged with a serious criminal offence under the Crimes Act 1958. Instead, each offender was convicted and fined under provisions of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

In honour of Brodie and the countless other victims of bullying, Damian and Rae relentlessly lobbied to change the law. In June 2011, Victoria introduced anti-bullying legislation, known as Brodie’s Law, making serious bullying a crime punishable by up to 10 years in jail.

Brodie’s Law applies to all forms of serious physical bullying, psychological bullying, verbal bullying and cyberbullying. It covers bullying in the community, such as in workplaces, schools, sporting clubs and on social media.

Damian and Rae have worked hard to spread awareness of the law, and to share Brodie’s story and the anti-bullying message around the country.

Anti-bullying attitudes embedded within Swinburne

Brodie’s Law Foundation is based at Swinburne’s Croydon campus one day a week, with Damian and Rae presenting their campaign information session to students across all three Melbourne campuses.

Director of Trades and Engineering Technologies Programs at Swinburne, Terry McEvoy, has been involved with Brodie’s Law Foundation since 2011, and is currently its Director and Co-Chair.

“In the early days of the foundation, I saw Damien present at a conference on Brodie’s Law and knew I wanted to help any way I could. I was floored by the strength and resilience of the family, especially after all they had been through. Their passion and drive to help others really resonated with me” says Terry.

“I began my career as an apprentice plumber in the 80s, and have seen many times the devastating effects bullying can have on people in the workplace. It’s an absolute privilege to be able to be a part of the foundation, and it’s really important to me to make sure Swinburne students receive this training before entering the workforce.”

Strategic Projects Manager at Swinburne, Joel Martin, sits on the foundation’s public funds management committee.  His team plays a key role in ensuring Brodie’s Law Foundation and anti-bulling sentiment is embedded at Swinburne.

‘We want our students to leave Swinburne with not only the skills they need but also the confidence to understand their rights and responsibilities as they enter the workforce” says Joel. 

If you see something, speak up

“Bullying and threatening behaviour in the workplace and elsewhere in the community will not be tolerated. If you are being targeted – speak up. There are now laws to protect you. You’re not alone,” says Damian. 

Speaking to bystander behaviours, Damian says “The standard you walk past is the standard you accept. If someone around you is being bullied – step up and reach out. You could save a life."

If you would like to make a donation, book a Brodie’s Law community session, or learn more about the foundation, visit: https://www.brodieslaw.org/

Anyone who needs support can call Lifeline (24 hours a day) on 13 11 14, visit the Lifeline website or contact local police