Bullying and victimisation

Bullying is an ongoing misuse of power in relationships causing physical and/or psychological harm.

The law of equal opportunity protects people from bullying. This is based on personal characteristics such as race, religion or sexuality.

Bullying can:

  • take many forms, including:
    • jokes
    • teasing
    • nicknames
    • emails
    • pictures
    • text messages
    • social isolation
    • ignoring people
    • unfair work practices
  • involve many different forms of unreasonable behaviour, which can be obvious (overt) or hidden (covert)
  • be intentional or unintentional.

Sometimes people do not realise that their behaviour can be harmful to others. This does not make it OK.


Cyberbullying can occur in many ways:

  • abusive texts and emails
  • messages, images or videos including image-based abuse (sometimes incorrectly referred to as 'revenge porn'), where a person distributes or posts false, humiliating or intimate/ sexualised videos or photos of you without your consent
  • imitating others online by using an alias
  • humiliating, harassing or threatening people and/ or their family or friends online
  • hacking and misusing another person's email accounts
  • nasty online gossip and chat.

For more information on cyber abuse, cyberbullying and image-based abuse. Please view the eSafety Commissioner's website.


We disallow retaliation against anyone involved in a complaint of unacceptable behaviour.

Victimisation is against the law. It is the action of singling someone out for cruel or unjust treatment. This may be due to that person:

  • asserting their rights
  • refusing to do something
  • making a complaint or helping someone else make a complaint.

Victimisation also comes in the form of threatening someone (such as a witness) who may be involved in investigating a concern or complaint.

This is a very serious breach of policy and may result in formal discipline against the perpetrator.

Support and resources

Internal resources

  • Safer Community: Contact Safer Community if witness or experience unacceptable behaviour
  • Counselling Support: Provides counselling support on a range of issues that may be affecting a person’s wellbeing
  • Resolving Conflict [PDF 233KB: A factsheet produced by our Safer Community team which has tips on how to resolve conflict
  • Safer Community Respondent Factsheet [PDF 440KB]
  • Use our crisis line for out of hours Mental Health and Wellbeing Support. Phone: 1300 146 307 or text: 0488 884 100. This service operates 5.00 pm–9.00 am on weekdays and 24 hours during weekends and public holidays.

External resources

  • Emergency: In an emergency ring: 000 and then security: 9479 2222
  • Lifeline – For anyone experiencing a personal crisis 24 hours a day, call: 13 11 14
  • Beyond Blue – 24/7 phone support, chat online service and resources for those needing support
  • Headspace – Free online and phone support and counselling to young people aged 12–25 years old and their families and friends
  • Switchboard – For LGBTIQA+ specific support and referral.