If your child has seen bullying

Your child might know someone who is being bullied and/or may have seen bullying happen at school. Witnessing bullying can be distressing.

Encourage your child to talk about what happened

They might want to talk about:

  • not knowing what to do or not wanting to make the situation worse
  • not knowing if their actions will make a difference
  • feeling worried about their safety if they intervene
  • feeling worried about the impact of taking action on their friendships
  • being anxious that they will be bullied as a result of intervening.

Let them know you take their concerns seriously. Ask your child what they want you to do. Don't jump in to solve the problem.

If there is risk of danger to anyone involved, contact the school. Tell your child that reporting the bullying is okay because kids often need help from adults to stop it.

Talk about being a supportive bystander/upstander

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

If other students are confident to take safe and effective action there is a greater possibility that the bullying will stop. This is known as being an upstander.

Upstanders can use words and/or actions that can help someone who is being bullied.

Suggest to your child if they feel safe to do so, they could:

  • walk away and tell a teacher right away
  • tell the person who is bullying you will get a teacher if they don't stop
  • encourage your friends to walk away or tell the person to stop
  • tell the person bullying you don't think what they do is cool or funny
  • help the person who is being bullied go somewhere safe.

Tell them that if they don't think it's safe to say anything there are other things they could do:

  • tell the person being bullied that it is not okay and they didn't do anything wrong
  • ask them if they want help to get it stopped
  • tell a teacher about it
  • ask the person who is being bullied to join your group or game
  • walk away as people who bully like others to watch.

Your child will be a good judge about whether it is safe to say something as they know the situation best.

If your child tells you that the bullying is continuing or increasing, contact the school

Let your child know that you can help them to report the bullying behaviour to the school. The school’s counsellor or psychologist is available if required.

If your child wants to talk to someone other than the school, or you think added support would help, you may refer them to Kids Helpline. They can also call them for free on 1800 55 1800.

Adapted with permission from Bullying. No Way!. Visit the website to learn more about bullying.

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