When someone is being bullied

Bullying significantly impacts a student’s sense of safety and wellbeing. Some students may not know what to do or how to ask for help if a peer is being bullied, particularly if they experience social or communication challenges, or they have an intellectual disability. 

How to use this script

This script can support students to respond to or seek help when bullying occurs. Teachers can provide this script to all students to ensure they can help others access support when needed.

Teachers can discuss with students that bullying is a repeated behaviour that causes harm. Some students may need clear explanation that when someone is harmed physically by another student, they should seek help immediately.

What is bullying?

Bullying has three key features. It involves a misuse of power in a relationship, is intentional, ongoing and repeated and involves behaviours that can cause harm. 

Bullying can be physical, verbal, or social. Bullying can be easy to see (overt), or hidden (covert). 

Student using the laptop.

Overt bullying

Overt bullying involves physical actions such as punching or kicking or observable verbal actions such as name-calling and insulting. Overt, direct, physical bullying is a common depiction of bullying (this is sometimes called 'traditional bullying'). 

Covert bullying

Covert bullying can be almost impossible for people outside the interpersonal interaction to identify.

Covert bullying can include repeatedly using hand gestures and weird or threatening looks, whispering, excluding or turning your back on a person, restricting where a person can sit and who they can talk with. 

Bullying can be by direct or indirect

Direct bullying occurs between the people involved, whereas indirect actions involve others, for example passing on insults or spreading rumours.  Indirect bullying mostly inflicts harm by damaging another's social reputation, peer relationships and self-esteem. 

Bullying can also happen online using technology such as the internet or mobile devices. This is known as online bullying or cyberbullying. 

You can refer to Anti-Bullying page for more support in the prevention, early intervention or response to bullying behaviours. 

School Excellence Framework alignment


Australian Professional Standards for Teachers alignment

Standard 1: Know students and how they learn


Secondary teachers, students


Support students to respond to or seek help when bullying occurs and help others access support when needed. This resource includes a script for students to identify ways to communicate with a trusted teacher.


November 2021. Share your feedback here

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