Breaking the Cycle

Resource 1 – What is Bullying?

Scouts Australia is in partnership with the Alannah and Madeline Foundation for the Bullying – Breaking the Cycle Project and use the definitions provided by this national group. It is grateful for funding provided through the WOSM, Messengers of Peace initiative.


Bullying is when an individual or a group of people with more power, repeatedly and intentionally cause hurt or harm to another person or group of people who feel helpless to respond. Bullying can continue over time, is often hidden from adults, and will probably continue if no action is taken. Bullying is a relationship problem and requires relationship-based solutions. These are best solved in the social environment in which they occur: in a child or young person’s life, this is most often the school. If it happens at Scouts, it should be dealt with at Scouts.


  • single episodes of social rejection or dislike
  • single episode acts of nastiness or spite
  • random acts of aggression or intimidation
  • mutual arguments, disagreements or fights.

While another’s actions can cause great distress, they’re not examples of bullying unless someone is deliberately and repeatedly doing them.

If you’re being bullied you might feel as if you:

  • are scared to go to school/ Scouts, feel unsafe and afraid
  • can’t sleep very well or have nightmares
  • don’t want to be around your family or friends
  • can’t concentrate on your school or homework
  • seem to be getting into trouble all the time
  • are angry for no reason
  • are not very hungry or are extra hungry
  • suddenly have unexplained headaches or stomach-aches
  • are sad and ‘down’
  • feel as though you’re not worth much
  • are guilty
  • think what’s happening is your fault (it isn’t)
  • feel ashamed it’s happening to you.

You shouldn’t have to feel any of these things because of the way someone is treating you. It’s not your fault but it probably won’t stop unless you do something. Bullying is bad for you, bad for your social group; it’s even bad for the person doing the bullying. You should do something about it now!