Bullying: The Definition

Bullying: The Definition – Information for Our Community

Identifying whether a situation is bullying or something else helps students, teachers, parents and the wider community to determine the most appropriate a response.

A key factor in identifying bullying is to have a shared understanding of the definition of bullying. This helps all of us to find positive and lasting solutions to bullying.

The Department of Education's definition of bullying is:

Bullying is repeated verbal, physical, social or psychological behaviour that is harmful and involves the misuse of power by an individual or group towards one or more persons. Cyberbullying refers to bullying through information and communication technologies.

Bullying can involve humiliation, domination, intimidation, victimisation and all forms of harassment, Bullying of any form or for any reason can have long-term effects on those involved including bystanders.

Conflict or fights between equals or single incidents are not defined as bullying.

Bullying and Other Negative Behaviours

It is important to note that not all negative behaviours constitute bullying, however some negative behaviours may develop in to bullying.

Negative behaviours that do not constitute bullying include:

  • mutual arguments and disagreements
  • not liking someone or a single act of social rejection
  • one-off acts of meanness or spite
  • isolated incidents of aggression, intimidation or violence.

These are conflicts that still need to be addressed and resolved.

Bullying: Resources for Parents and Carers

The following four short videos from the ‘Bullying. NO Way!' site are a great resource for families to share discussions with their children about bullying and to help children identify strategies to manage bullying and conflict.

What is Bullying?

Misuse of Power

Ongoing and Repeated

Behaviours can cause harm