Bullying is a complex and ongoing issue that can have long-term effects on student engagement, learning and attendance on those involved, including bystanders. The Department of Education in Queensland defines bullying as, '… the ongoing and deliberate misuse of power in relationships through repeated verbal, physical and/or social behaviour that intends to cause physical, social and/or psychological harm'.
During the 2018 international student assessment program (PISA), 21 per cent of Australian students reported that ‘other students made fun of me’ frequently, which is higher than the international average (14 per cent). As well as causing stress for the student, being bullied is linked to lower academic achievement outcomes. The Australian Government’s e-Safety Commissioner reported a 65 per cent increase in complaints about bullying that used technology from 2020–21 to 2021–22.
Bullying is a complex issue for schools as it occurs within and outside of school grounds. This poses challenges to education departments in identifying and managing bullying. Research on bullying also indicates that even though it can be difficult to change bullying behaviours, interventions implemented within schools can effectively decrease bullying. The effectiveness is reliant on schools adopting evidence-based whole-school approaches with multi-tiered systems of support, encompassing targeted prevention and intervention strategies.
This audit will examine whether the Department of Education’s strategies are effective in supporting the protection of students from bullying.
- Department of Education.