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Types of bullying

2-minute read

Bullying can occur anywhere, and comes in different forms, all of which cause distress and pain to the person who is being bullied. If you’re being bullied, or know that someone else is being bullied, there are ways to stop the bullying and places to go for advice and support.

Bullying can be:

  • physical, such as hitting, poking, tripping or pushing
  • verbal, such as name calling, insults or abuse
  • social (covert or hidden), such as lying about someone, spreading rumours, mimicking or deliberately excluding someone
  • psychological, such as threatening, manipulating or stalking behaviour
  • online, often referred to as cyberbullying, which means using technology such as email, mobile phones, chat rooms or networking sites to bully verbally, socially or psychologically

Very few children tell anyone that they’re being bullied. They may feel weak, ashamed or frightened it will make the situation worse.

Signs your child is possibly being bullied include:

  • not wanting to go to school
  • being unusually secretive and quiet
  • having no friends
  • appearing oversensitive or weepy
  • having angry outbursts
  • having damaged or missing belongings
  • having physical injuries
  • not sleeping properly
  • wetting the bed
  • becoming isolated and withdrawn
  • losing interest in normal activities
  • having physical aches and pains like headaches or stomach aches
  • receiving more messages than usual via social media

You can find information about bullying at school on the Bullying No Way! website and about cyberbullying on the Office of the eSafety Commissioner website.

Adults can be bullied too, including at work. Workplace bullying is any behaviour at work that is physically, mentally or socially threatening.

Your employer has a legal responsibility to provide a safe workplace, and a duty of care when it comes to your health and wellbeing at work. You can read more about workplace bullying on the Fair Work Commission’s website.

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: February 2018

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