Safety at School


Impact of bullying

Bullying has a negative impact on everyone involved; the target, the bully and the bystanders. Students who are bullied are more likely to:

  • feel disconnected from school and not like school
  • have lower academic out- comes, including lower atten- dance and completion rates
  • lack quality friendships at school
  • display high levels of emotion that indicate vulnerability and low levels of resilience
  • be less well accepted by peers, avoid conflict and be socially withdrawn
  • have low self-esteem
  • have depression, anxiety, feelings of loneliness and isolation
  • have nightmares
  • feel wary or suspicious of others
  • have an increased risk of depression and substance abuse
  • in extreme cases, have a higher risk of suicide, however, the reasons why a person may be at risk of suicide are extremely complicated.

Contributing factors to being bullied may include:

  • depression
  • family problems
  • history of trauma
  • belonging to a minority group, where isolation or lack of com- munity support is an issue.

Impact on bullies

  • Students who frequently bully others are more likely to:
  • feel disconnected from school and dislike school
  • get into ghts, vandalise property and leave school early.

In addition, recent Victorian research has shown that bullying perpetration in Year 10 is associ- ated with an increased likelihood

of theft, violent behaviour and binge drinking.

Impact on bystanders

Students who witness bullying may:

  • be reluctant to attend school
  • feel fearful or powerless to act and guilty for not acting
  • have increased mental health problems, including depression and anxiety
  • have increased use of tobacco, alcohol, or other drugs.

Impact on schools

When bullying continues and a school does not take action, the entire school climate and culture can be negatively affected. This impacts on student learning and engagement, staff retention and satisfaction and parental con – dence in the school, which can lead to:

  • the school developing an envi- ronment of fear and disrespect
  • students experiencing dif culty learning
  • students feeling insecure
  • students disliking school
  • students perceiving that teachers and staff have little control
  • and don’t care about them.

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