Breaking the Cycle


Bullying, it’s not part of Scouting


Bullying is where someone – the bully – tries to hurt someone else. There are many different ways they can hurt them – verbally, physically, psychologically, socially, or cyberbullying. Most importantly, bullying must take repeatedly: while hurting someone is always wrong, it is only bullying if it happens more than once.

Let’s take a look at what these different ways are:

  • Verbal bullying: teasing, name calling, put downs, insults, sarcasm, threats.
  • Physical bullying: hitting, kicking, pinching, spitting, scratching, punching, slapping, tripping.
  • Social bullying: excluding people, ignoring them, alienating them, making inappropriate gestures.
  • Psychological bullying: spreading rumours, hiding or damaging possessions, making people feel uncomfortable, playing tricks.
  • Cyberbullying: using social media, mobile phones, emails, or other technology to do any of the things listed above.

Some of the things listed above can be done between friends and not be bullying. However, if the person doing any of the things above does not stop when the other person tells them to, that could be bullying. As soon as someone is hurt by something, it is wrong, and it must be stopped.

Let’s return to the Scout Law for a moment. You have made a promise to be, amongst other things, friendly, considerate, and respectful. This means that you have promised to:

  • Be friendly to everyone else
  • Think of how everyone else is feeling
  • Accept that everyone is different

If you are a Patrol Leader, one of your responsibilities is to ensure that your Patrol members abide by this Law. You must also abide by this, as must your Leaders and anyone else who has made the Scout promise.

Why do people bully?

There are many reasons someone might bully. There is never an excuse for bullying, but there is often a reason. Sometimes people who bully have themselves been bullied; sometimes they are jealous; and sometimes they don’t know how else to interact. This means that you can’t always deal with someone who is bullying in the same way.

What can I do to stop someone from bullying?

First of all, talk to them. They may not even realise that they are hurting people with what they say or do. They may also be bullying you or someone else because they themselves are hurt by something, and they don’t know how else to react. If you aren’t comfortable talking to them, or this doesn’t help, you should speak to your PL. If you do not feel comfortable speaking to them, speak to another PL, or your Leaders. If you don’t feel comfortable speaking to any of these people, see if your parents, guardians, or another member of your Troop will help you speak to them. If not, we have included a list of other people you can speak to at the end of this document.

The diagram on the final page of this document shows who you should speak to and when. You can ask your parents or guardians for help at any stage, but they should never approach a youth member in your Troop directly. If you feel uncomfortable speaking to any person in this diagram, skip them and go to the next person.

Flow chart

This flow chart shows who you should speak to if you feel you are being bullied. (Youth) Part for adult helping youth and adult to adult.

Who else can I speak to?

Phone/ email
Kids Helpline24 hour helpline for 5-25 year olds1800 55
LifelineCrisis support helpline13 11
CybersmartGovernment cybersafety advice See Kids
Alannah and Madeline FoundationInformation service to support children who have experienced
Scouts AustraliaTo provide assistance to those unable to solve issues of bullying in Scouting in their local