Bullying

The Diocesan Schools System opposes all forms of bullying.  The dignity of the human person is inherent to our Catholic mission in education and the development of the whole person.

Essential to this is the formation and maintenance of a respectful, safe and supportive learning environment that promotes student wellbeing and enables school communities to engage all students in an inclusive manner.

Catholic schools in the Diocese of Broken Bay have an Anti-Bullying Policy for the prevention and management of bullying.  All schools are required to provide learning experiences that support students to develop an understanding of bullying, the role of the bystander and its impact on individuals and the broader community.

Definition of Bullying

Bullying is defined as a pattern of repeated physical, verbal, psychological or social behaviour that involves the misuse of power and is intended to cause harm, distress and/or create fear.  Bullying may be carried out overtly (e.g. face-to-face) or covertly (e.g. through repeated social exclusion or via technology).

Bullying is not the same as conflict or social dislike even though, in some cases, the outcome of both can be bullying.  Single incidents are not defined as bullying although of course, such incidents may require intervention by the school.

Different Types of Bullying 

  • Face-to-face bullying (sometimes referred to as direct bullying) involves physical actions such as punching or kicking or overt verbal actions such as name-calling and insulting
  • Covert bullying (sometimes referred to as indirect bullying) is a subtle type of non-physical bullying which is not easily seen by others and is conducted out of sight, and often unacknowledged by adults
  • Cyber-bullying occurs through the use of information or communication technologies such as instant messaging, text messages, email and other social networking sites.  It has many similarities with off-line bullying but it differs in that the student(s) who are bullying can be anonymous, it can reach a wide audience and the sent or uploaded material can be difficult to remove.  Most students who cyber-bully also bully off-line

If Your Child is Being Bullied What Can You Do?

Work collaboratively with the school to solve the problem.  Contact the school and make an appointment to discuss the issue and to develop a plan for managing the situation.  Do not directly approach any other student or their family.

Parents support can include:

Stay calm and positive - It can be an emotional time when your child is being bullied.  Try to identify a solution with your child and do some research so that you are informed on how to best support your child.

Talk with the school - You do not need your child’s permission to talk to the school.  A shared, consistent and co-operative approach by both the home and school is important.

Keep your child safe - You should contact the school immediately if your child feels unsafe.

Talk with your child - Encourage your child to talk about what happened.  Tell your child that reporting the bullying is okay.  Assure your child that it is not their fault.  Do not advise your child to fight with the other child.  Encourage your child to:

  • try to act unaffected and ignore it
  • say 'No!' firmly
  • use other strategies to diffuse the situation (eg. agreeing in an offhand way with the bullying when they say offensive or negative things - this is known as fogging)
  • talk to the teacher or another staff member, eg school counsellor
  • act confidently even if they don't feel it

Seek help for your child – Discuss with the school a referral to the counselling service, so they can support them to recover from and understand the bullying incidents and give them the chance to improve their social skills.  Give them the Kids Helpline telephone number 1800 55 1800 to use if they ask to talk to someone other than the school.