I’ve seen someone bullied

Have you seen bullying happen but didn't know how to stop it?

There are things you can do. Don't put your own safety at risk. Step in only if you feel safe to do so.

Bystanders can contribute to the problem - upstanders can stop the problem. Watch the video below or read the transcript.

The Upstander

Who are bystanders?

Bystanders are​ people who watch or are nearby at the time the bullying takes place. You can be a bystander in person or online.

You may have been a bystander if you have:

  • stood and watched in silence
  • seen bullying happening online and said nothing
  • laughed or walked away from the situation
  • cheered or encouraged the person bullying
  • forwarded an offensive image, post or text message to someone.

What can I do?

If you see bullying and feel confident enough to take safe action, there’s a bigger chance that the bullying will stop. You can use words or actions to help someone who is being bullied. This is called being an upstander.

A group of students standing up to bullying together helps everyone to stay safe.

Say or write something supportive to the person being bullied

For example:

  • "Do you want me to come with you to the office to tell a teacher about this?"
  • "I know you must feel pretty bad but they’re the one with the problem."
  • "Just ignore what they said. They’re doing it to feel better about themselves."

Do something to help the person being bullied

You could:

  • take them away from the person doing the bullying.
  • encourage them to ask for help, for example go with them to get help.
  • include them in your group and introduce them to your friends.
  • suggest safe places for them to go.
  • show them how to set their privacy settings on social networking sites and mobile devices.

Avoid joining in

Don't behave in ways that make the problem worse, such as:

  • joining in with harassing or hurting someone.
  • reinforcing the bullying behaviour by encouraging, cheering and laughing, even if it’s from a distance or when you hear about it later.
  • resending or responding to messages or photos that may be offensive or upsetting to someone.
  • harassing, teasing or spreading gossip about others on social media.

Tell someone

If someone is being hurt, it’s important to seek help.

If you’re worried about what other people will say, tell someone else privately.

Even if the bullying happens outside of school, report it to someone who can help or someone you trust such as:

  • your parents or someone in your family
  • a teacher or a school counsellor or psychologist
  • the police, if the bullying is causing serious harm
  • to the Office of the eSafety Commissioner if it is serious bullying online.

Adapted with permission from Bullying. No Way!

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