What is bullying?
Bullying is repeated, unreasonable behaviour directed at an individual or group that creates a risk to their health and safety. The behaviour can include actions of an individual or a group, and often involves the bully or bullies inappropriately asserting power.
While bullying is often a repeated behaviour, one-off instances can be considered bullying too.
Examples of bullying
Bullying can include many things, such as:
- verbal or written abuse. This includes abusive, insulting, belittling, intimidating or offensive language, spreading of rumours, teasing, and displaying offensive posters or graffiti
- threatening physical behaviour including physical gestures and unwelcomed physical contact
- excluding someone from a group (e.g. study group) either online or offline where it is unreasonable to do so
- offensive or intimidating initiation practices
- non-constructive criticism about academic performance including derogatory, demeaning and insulting remarks
- cyberbullying such as abusive and inappropriate emails or social media posts
- unwelcomed interference with an individual’s belongings
What can you do about bullying?
Tell trusted people in your support network that you're being bullied and how it’s affecting you. This may include friends, family, neighbours, work mates, or peers/staff at university. Seek their advice on how to respond.
- Seek professional support and advice.
- Stay positive. Focus on the things you do well, and the people you like who care about you.
- Keep doing the things you enjoy.
If you’re being bullied, we want to know. Report bullying behaviour.
- If you feel comfortable to do so, tell the person that their behaviour is inappropriate and unwelcomed.
- Ask the person to stop the behaviour using a strong, assertive tone.
- Ignore the bullying – turn your back and walk away.
- Block the person on social media and ask them to remove any offensive content.
- Don't respond to messages.
- Make a note of all instances of bullying including the date, time, place, names and witnesses present.
- Describe the behaviour that is upsetting you and the impact it has had (e.g. taking time off study).
- Keep any evidence, e.g. copies of messages, photos, or online conversations.
- Report offensive content on social media to the social media site.
- Report bullying behaviour to Swinburne e.g. teaching or professional staff or security services (+61 3 9214 3333), or report it online.
- If you fear for your safety or feel threatened, report the behaviour to police by calling 000 for free from your mobile or any Swinburne phone.
If you witness someone experiencing bullying, you can help the situation as an active bystander.
- Interrupt the behaviour and distract from the situation if safe to do so.
- Talk privately to the person being bullied and ask if they are ok.
- Listen and provide support. Empower them to seek help and report the behaviour.
- Talk privately to the person acting inappropriately.
- Bring the behaviour to the attention of others and intervene as a group.
- Get help from somebody with authority (e.g. teaching staff or security services).
- Don't become violent.
- Call for help (phone security services on +61 3 9214 3333 or emergency services on 000.