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Charlotte Dresser

on 24 October 2013

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Transcript of Bullying

Social Complexity Model suggests that the bully/bullied relationship is the result of a dynamic interaction among variables at different levels of social interaction, and extends beyond those who bully others and are bullied to the whole group ( Goff, 2011)

According to Social Identity Theory (Goff, 2011)
individuals’ perceptions of and attitudes and behaviours
toward “in-group” and “out-group” members derive
from the need to be associated with the “in-group”
to enhance their own self-esteem.

Consequently, individuals tend to favour behaviours of the “in” or popular group members.

Historically bullying was perceived a private matter or a personal trouble that children would endure and ‘work out’ for themselves. It was considered a ‘rite of passage’ and a way for a child to build character. However, in 1983 what was considered a personal trouble became a social problem when three boys committed suicide from being bullied.

Bullying can be physical, psychological or social.
It can include being ostracised or sexually harassed and can be conducted by an individual or a group.
Bullying can be overt through open attacks and physical aggression
Bullying can be covert and more subtle or undetectable, through indirect attacks such as gossip, rumours or attacks that occur in isolation.

Bullying affects everyone involved, not just the individual alone who is being bullied; but also person who is doing the bullying along with the people who witness the bullying.

This effects individuals on a personal level, but also effects them in many other ways such as within their family and friends, the community, their school, work etc.

As mentioned bullying can be physical, psychological or social.
Children who are bullied can experience various forms of impact ranging from physical, social, mental health issues within many of all areas of their lives.
Upon themselves in particular, a child who is bullied is more likely to experience depression, anxiety, sadness, loneliness, changes in general patterns (e.g. sleeping/eating), loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities.
If a child is experiencing any factors within their environment leading to them being bullied it is likely that these will hinder their experience within school. The child will feel disconnected from their peers and their school work, have difficulty making or maintaining friends amongst their peers, become socially withdrawn and avoid conflict or acceptance from their peers, have a low self esteem and possibly suffer from depression and anxiety due to strong feelings of worry, isolation or suspicion.

In some cases the child's academic achievements and outcomes can suffer. There is generally a much higher chance of lower attendance and completion rates.

Children’s Development is not just about children themselves, because a child grows up in a community (Goldsmid & Howie, 2013).
For a child to grow up into a healthy well-adjusted adult, he/she needs a healthy self-esteem.This is nurtured in a secure environment, shaped not only by the child’s ideas but also through the influences and expectations of significant family, friends, teachers, school and general community (Goldsmid & Howie, 2013)

Bullying is common in schools, with Australian studies having found about 8% of boys and 4% of girls self-reporting as repeatedly (on a weekly basis) bullying others, and about one in six students reporting being bullied regularly (Slee & Mohyla,2007).

In relation to Australian schools and the increased prevalence of bullying it has become much more obvious that school policies regarding responsibilities have been unclear (Slee & Mohyla,2007).

Maintaining the school’s duty of care has assumed a much more critical role since the level of bullying violence has increased, even to the point of suicide of some students (Slee & Mohyla,2007).

The closer his/her expectations and those of the significant people in his/her life, the greater the self-esteem.

A healthy sense of self-esteem can be created by giving the child a sense of belonging, of family, purpose, personal competence and pride, trust and responsibility, of being able to make real choices and decisions, of being encouraged, supported and rewarded. (Slee & Mohyla,2007).

Bullying in schools
The social and legal branches of...
What is Bullying?
History of Bullying
Debates and discussions continue over the definition of bullying. The majority of literature agrees that bullying occurs from an imbalance of power between the aggressor and target is an act that is intended to harm takes place repeatedly.

Bullying is often defined as a behaviour, however Sercombe & Donnelly (2013) define bullying as a relationship of violence. They explain that violent behaviour is used to establish and maintain the relationship as aggression is a common tool in achieving and maintaining power

Forms of Bullying
Impact on Children
Contributing Factors
Effects in School...
Relationship between bullying and social development
Self Esteem and Bullying
Those who are involved in bullying and those who witness bullying may experience immediate or long term consequences
Bullying can create anxiousness, low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, a lack of concentration, feelings of loneliness and rejection, somatic illnesses such as headaches, nausea, sleep disturbances, a lack of appetite and in more extreme cases suicidal tendencies.
Studies show that those involved in bullying are more prone to become engaged in criminal activity, alcohol and drug use

Literature responses
Literature tends to direct the cause and effects of bullying to individual behaviour and responses focusing on personal flaws, specific traits, developmental factors and family influences.
However, Bansell et al (2009) states there is no evidence to confirm this and interventions based on this information often have no lasting effect.
Bullying occurs through a network of practices, discourses and different relations of power and responsibility affected by social and/or cultural influences and elements . This explains
why a large number of individuals fluidly
move between being a bully and then
becoming a victim.

Types of Violence
Violence can fall into three basic categories:

• self-directed violence (e.g. self abuse and suicide)
• collective violence (e.g. social and political violence including war and terrorism)
• interpersonal violence (e.g. family and intimate partner violence, community violence involving an acquaintance or stranger).

Bullying and Violence
Impact on Bystanders
Those children who are witness to bullying are likely to grow fear of the same occurrence happening toward them, along with feelings of guilt if they are not able to interfere or help the child being bullied. They may also become reluctant to attend school and can potentially suffer an increase in mental health problems such as depression and anxiety. (Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, 2013)

What is Violence?
Violence is the intentional use of physical force or power, threatened or actual, against another person(s) that results in psychological harm, injury or in some cases death. It may involve provoked or unprovoked acts and can be a single incident, a random act or can occur over time .
(Bullying no way, 2013).

“Everyone has the right to be respected and safe, regardless of their race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability or age. Violence, harassment and bullying are violations of this human right”

(Australian Human Rights Commission, 2011).

Violence as Bullying
It is important to remember that bullying and violence are not the same issue. Violence is often an outcome and is certainly an form of bullying. If bullying can be addressed in its earlier stages then many occurrences of violence may be prevented. It is important that bullying and violence are treated as separate issues with their own responses, but both issues are as important as each other and both can have devastating effects on young people.

(Bullying no way, 2013)

Prior bullying
Unstable home life
Mental health issues
Social minority groups
Also, they may experience some health issues and difficulties, this can stem not only from physical bullying, but also self harm as a result of bullying.
If these symptoms and behaviours go untreated and the bullying is not properly dealt with to the child’s satisfactory there is a possibility that many of these issues and hostile and negative behaviours can continue on with them into adulthood.
Impact upon the Bully
It is not only the children that are victims of bullying that experience negative effects upon themselves and their lives, but also the children who bully people themselves. There is generally a reason behind a child feeling the need to bully others due to factors within their environment. It is generally multiple factors within the home, school or within peer groups, as there is no one single cause of bullying. (Andrea Cohn, Andrea Carter, 2003)

Child bullies within schools are likely to become disconnected, grow dislike and resentment towards school, become involved in violence and vandalism and potentially leave school early. (Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, 2013)

Schools and Bullying
Bullying Theories
Bullying is common in schools, with Australian studies having found about 8% of boys and 4% of girls self-reporting as repeatedly (on a weekly basis) bullying others, and about one in six students reporting being bullied regularly (Slee & Mohyla,2007).

In relation to Australian schools and the increased prevalence of bullying it has become much more obvious that school policies regarding responsibilities have been unclear (Slee & Mohyla,2007).

Maintaining the school’s duty of care has assumed a much more critical role since the level of bullying violence has increased, even to the point of suicide of some students (Slee & Mohyla,2007).

Persistence of Bullying
School Peer Group Influences
Bullying in a Legal Context
Legal Definition
Bullying is not legally defined.

It is however quoted by the Department of Education and Training as being:

A wilful, conscious desire to hurt, threaten or frighten. It can be physical and/or verbal in nature and can include racial, religious and sexual harassment, rude gestures, intimidation, social isolation and extortion. It must be recognised that bullying is ongoing in nature and that bullies are reinforced by another’s pain, fear and humiliation.
Convention on the Rights of the Child
The Convention on the Rights of the Child states in article 19 that children have the right to be protected from all forms of physical or mental abuse, injury, abuse, neglect or negligent treatment. Furthermore, article 23 states that children have the right to an education, with a view to achieving this right progressively and on the basis of equal opportunity.
Disciplinary Policies
Bullying in schools is often dealt with privately by disciplinary measures imposed by schools. The most significant of which often include exclusion policies.

However, even the more significant policies do not have the same character as criminal punishment in a legal context. They are only responses under education legislation or case law. (R v Ng)
Double Punishment?
One problem with such private disciplinary policies is that a student who commits a criminal act within a school cannot legally argue that school disciplinary punishment precludes the operation of being punished a second time.
Bullying as a criminal offense?
Bullying is not expressly legislated as a criminal offense.

However, the many forms of bullying aforementioned may constitute separate criminal offenses.
A physical assault on another person will constitute a form of assault, legislated in the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW). These include;
• Common Assault (s61)
• Assault occasioning actual bodily harm (s59)
• Sexual assault (s61I)
• Wounding with intent (s33)
• Grievous bodily harm. (s54)

Assaults in Schools
Furthermore, the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) specifically legislates against assaults in schools. S60E provides that any person who assaults, stalks, harasses or intimidates any student of a school while attending school, with or without actual or grievous bodily harm.
Conduct by a student that causes another student to have a reasonable apprehension or fear of violence to his or her person or property may constitute the criminal offense of stalking.
s13 Crimes (Domestic and Personal Violence) Act 2007
Duty of Care for Schools
The duty of the school is to employ staff to take reasonable care of the children.

Furthermore, this duty extends to protecting the pupil from the conduct of other pupils.
New South Wales v Lepore (2003) 212 CLR 511 at 565 per McHugh J
Breach of Duty
Such protective measures by schools should include support for the bullied child, as well as identification, reporting, referral, investigation, treatment and follow up programs for the affected child.

A breach of this duty will be seen when the breach was a necessary causal factor of the harm occurring. The test for causation is that ‘but for’ the breach, the harm would not have occurred. Furthermore, it cannot be remote to the damage suffered from the bullying by the child.

Best Practice for Policies
There is no single view providing an answer as to what is “best practice” for policies to prevent and discipline bullies and also to support victims.

Therefore, in applying anti- bullying policies and procedures, schools should consider the strengths and limitations of each suggested approach and the appropriateness of its application to particular bully/ victim problems.

Schools also need to consider law enforcement where appropriate.
Bullying as

What is Discrimination?
Discrimination refers to the differential treatment of an individual based upon a characteristic they appertain.
To be discriminated against in many areas of public life is illegal (for example in the workplace, education, when accessing goods and services etc.).

Reach Out, What is Discrimination? (14th October 2013) http://au.reachout.com/what-is-discrimination

Can Bullying amount to Discrimination?

Fair Work Ombudsman, Bullying and Harassment (14th March 2012) Australian Government http://www.fairwork.gov.au/employment/discrimination/pages/bullying-and-harassment.aspx
Legislative Framework
Racial Discrimination Act 1975 (Cth) s 9 (‘RDA’).
Sex Discrimination Act 1984 (Cth) s 5 (‘SDA’).
Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Cth) s 5, s 6 (‘DDA’).

Racial Discrimination
Under the Racial Discrimination Act it’s unlawful to do any act with distinguished, excludes, restricts or preferences a person based on race, colour, descent, or national or ethnic origin, which infringes upon human rights and freedoms.

RDA s 9(1).

Sex Discrimination
Under the Sex Discrimination Act if a person discriminates against another on the ground of their sex and treats them less favorably then a person of the opposite sex, discrimination occurs.
SDA s 5(1).

This piece of legislation also deals with discrimination upon sexual orientation, gender identity and intersex status.
SDA s 5A, 5B, 5C.

Disability Discrimination
If a person discriminates against another on the ground of their disability and treats them less favourably then the discriminator would treat a person without such a disability, direct discrimination under the Disability Discrimination Act would occur. If a person indirectly discriminates against someone by imposing a requirement or condition which disadvantages them or fails to make reasonable adjustments for them, they would have discriminated against the aggrieved person under the Act.
DDA s 5
DDA s 6.

How to deal with Discrimination
If a child is being subjected to harassment, violence or bullying based upon one of the grounds outlined in the above Acts, and this harassment occurs because of this ground and leads to an adverse action or unfavourable treatment then it’s possible anti-discrimination legislation could be triggered, and the victim could seek recourse under these Acts.

The concerned individual could inform their school of the discrimination that has occurred.

The complainant could also report the discrimination to the Australian Human Rights Commission. Processes on how to file a complaint are listed on their website: https://www.humanrights.gov.au/complaints-information

Commonwealth Policies
There is currently not a singular piece of federal legislation which deals with bullying in schools. However there are numerous other pieces of legislation which deal with discriminatory bullying, and legislation dealing with workplace bullying.
How bullying in schools is dealt with is through policies implemented by individual schools and the State education departments have their own guidelines.
Whilst the previous Federal Government had their bullying policies listed on the DEEWR website, the new department is yet to release or update this policy.
The National Safe School Frameworks provide a guideline for States and schools when creating their anti-bullying policies and numerous studies into bullying were completed and provided recommendations for dealing with bullying (especially in the 21st century with cyber bullying becoming a prominent issue).

National Schools Framework
All Australian schools are safe, supportive and respectful teaching and learning communities that promote student wellbeing.
Australian schools:
affirm the rights of all members of the school community to feel safe and be safe at school
acknowledge that being safe and supported at school is essential for student wellbeing and effective learning
accept responsibility for developing and sustaining safe and supportive learning and teaching communities that also fulfill the school’s child protection responsibilities
encourage the active participation of all school community members in developing and maintaining a safe school community where diversity is valued
actively support young people to develop understanding and skills to keep themselves and others safe
commit to developing a safe school community through a whole-school and evidence-based approach

National Safe Schools Framework, Ministerial Council on Education, Early Childhood Development and Youth Affairs (MCEECDYA), 2011, 3. www.mceecdya.edu.au/verve/_resources/NSSFramework.pdf

Nine Elements of the National
Safe Schools Framework
1. Leadership commitment to a safe school
2. A supportive and connected school culture
3. Policies and procedures
4. Professional learning
5. Positive behaviour management
6. Engagement, skill development and safe school curriculum
7. A focus on student wellbeing and student ownership
8. Early intervention and targeted support
9. Partnerships with families and community

Australian Covert Bullying Prevalence Study
The ACPBS was established by the Department of Education. Employment and Workplace relations to address covert bullying within schools. It aims to shed light on this form of bullying and identify policy and practice to address the issue.

Establish an Australian Council for Bullying Prevention.
Revise the National Safe Schools Framework and its implementation in schools to explicitly encourage schools to address covert and overt bullying and provide the necessary resources to support schools to minimise this bullying through their policy and practice.
Schools should establish clear policies, programs and procedures, developed in collaboration with staff, students and parents, which explicitly address covert bullying as part of the school’s response to all forms of bullying.

State Policies
The responsibility for implementing and producing anti-bullying policies, lies directly with each individual school.
Rigby and Thomas outline a few similar features between policies:
A statement of opposition to bullying behavior and a resolve to eliminate it;
An account of the values and rights of students which underpin opposition to bullying
A definition of bullying categorised according to types and with examples;
An indication of what the school was doing to counter bullying

Fair Work Amendment Act 2013 (Cth)
Commencing in January 2014, amendments to the Fair Work Act are to introduce specific legislation to deal with workplace bullying.
The legislation enables a worker who is bullied to apply to the Fair Work Commission for an order to stop the bullying.

It also allows workers to seek redress for bullying in the form of an order made by the Commission, for an employer to implement anti-bullying policies and training.

Could a similar a type of approach be helpful in addressing bullying within schools?

Brodie's Law
In Victoria the Crimes Act 1958 was amended to make the crime of stalking apply to situations of serious bullying.

Crimes Amendment (Bullying) Bill 2011 (Vic) http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/vic/bill/cab2011266/

The amendment is known as Brodie’s Law (after a victim of serious workplace bullying who committed suicide). The law applies to “all forms of serious bullying, including physical, psychological, verbal and cyber bullying” anywhere in the community (including workplace, schools, sporting clubs and social media websites).

As mentioned earlier, bullying in schools is dealt with on a school by school basis.

Having legislation similar to Brodie’s Law or the Fair Work Amendments would help to protect victims of bullying and would provide legislative backing to school policies and would create uniformity.
Legislating against Bullying
Bullying, Young People and the
Law Symposium
The symposium, attended by preeminent legal, law enforcement and educational experts from throughout Australia and New Zealand, recommended that the approach to bullying should involve:
Appropriate responses by organisations to incidences of bullying and cyberbullying
The establishment of a national digital communication tribunal, and
An appropriate legal framework to address bullying and cyberbullying

Examples of Violence
throwing items
hitting with fists
using a sharp instrument
hitting with an object
pulling hair
Bullying can be linked to social power through cliques, social hierarchies and competitiveness.
Bullying is a process where an individual’s (or group’s) agency is progressively stripped away and does not always stop when dominance is achieved, but continues until agency is extinguished.

Sercombe & Donnelly (2013) suggest that naming or labelling a child a ‘bully’ or ‘victim’ often locks them into the identity which perpetuates ongoing behaviour patterns based on this identity. Once a ‘label’ is applied and accepted by an individual it becomes a part of their identity and difficult to escape once it is assigned.

If an act of bullying directly relates to a characteristic of a person such as their race, religion, sex or disability it could be classed as discrimination.
Under federal legislation, any act with infringes upon human rights and fundamental freedoms (in areas of political, economic, social and cultural arenas) based upon the race, sex, or disability, of a person that leads to detrimental treatment, constitutes discrimination.
To be covered by anti-discrimination legislation, the act has to directly correlate to this characteristic. For example if a child was to be bullied about wearing a blue shirt this would not be discrimination, however if they were to be bullied about their skin colour, the act would be discriminatory.
For discrimination to occur not only does there have to be a ground, there has to be an adverse action or less favourable treatment.
Each State and Territory has corresponding discrimination legislation:
Australian Human Rights Commission, Guide to Australia’s Anti-Discrimination Lawshttps://www.humanrights.gov.au/guide-australias-anti-discrimination-laws
National Safe Schools Framework, Ministerial Council on Education, Early Childhood Development and Youth Affairs (MCEECDYA), 2011, 4, www.mceecdya.edu.au/verve/_resources/NSSFramework.pdf
Each State and Territory have their own anti-bullying policies which encompass the same views as the Federal policies and guidelines.

Ken Rigby and E. Barrington Thomas, ‘How Schools Counter Bullying: Policies and Procedures in Selected Australian Schools” (ACER Press, 2010) 15.
National Centre Against Bullying, ‘Bullying, Young People and the Law Symposium Recommendations’ (Bullying, Young People and the Law Symposium, Victoria University, Melbourne, 18-19th July 2013) http://ncab.org.au/bypal13recommendations/
The symposium recommended:
All governments to consider the introduction of a specific, and readily understandable, criminal offence of bullying, including cyberbullying, involving a comparatively minor penalty to supplement existing laws which are designed to deal with more serious forms of conduct. In developing the above approaches, it is necessary to take into account:
i. the voices of children and human rights
ii. summary offences that do not require proof of specific intent to cause harm 
iii. appropriate penalties that in the case of children do not include incarceration
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