Types of bullying


Verbal/Overt Bullying

  • Verbal bullying is the use of words to taunt, threaten, insult, yell, embarrass, put down, swear, mock, threaten or intimidate the victim alone or in front of others.
  • Verbal bullying is the most common form of bullying in Australia.
  • Verbal remarks, some jokes, sarcasm, name calling, teasing and other discriminatory behaviour could be considered funny to some but such remarks can make others feel self-conscious, embarrassed, anxious, hopeless and lead to serious cases of insecurity and low self-esteem.
  • Repeated verbal abuse can lead to physical bullying and violence.

Our continued work with bullies and victims indicate that verbal bullying, is usually what the bully is feeling. The bully tends to be attracted to the victim because they may think the victim is powerless, weak, helpless and non-assertive.
We encourage victims to speak up and use assertive language i.e. words that commence with “I” statements, “I would like, I prefer, I don’t appreciate ……”

Physical/Overt Bullying

  • Involves the use or threat to use physical force and could involve: pushing, punching, spitting, biting, kicking, hitting, damage to belongings, locking the victim in a confined area, group intimidation (mobbing/ganging-up/group bullying) and intimidating the victim to commit involuntary actions.
  • Physical bullies seek to establish superiority and continuous control over their victim.

Indirect/Emotional/Social/Psychological/Covert Bullying

This form of bullying is common amongst peer relationships in which a student, partner, colleague or associate may make statements or commit actions that distresses another individuals self-esteem and confidence.

Common acts of this form of bullying could include:

  • Social alienation and deliberately excluding/leaving an individual out of activities.
  • Encouraging others to reject or exclude the individual, i.e. whispering and talking behind another individuals back.
  • Creating unkind rumours, gossip and the spreading of such rumours.
  • Repeated ignoring of the other who wishes to establish communication or dialogue with the intention to resolve the grievance.
  • Deliberate exclusion from a group and or social activity.
  • Inappropriate stares and intimidating looks with the intention to hurt.
  • Imitation and impersonation in order to degrade an individual or group i.e. because of their race, religion, sporting or interest group.
  • Deliberately and internationally setting up the individual to fail.


Racial Bullying

Is regarded as hostile and offensive actions against an individual because of their ethnicity, country of origin, race, skin colour, cultural and religious background and practices.
Racial bullying is encountered regularly in Australia and experienced by individuals from all races and cultures and may include incidents of:

  • Physical, verbal and emotional bullying.
  • Targeted comments that are insulting and degrading in nature such as name-calling, gestures, taunts, insults and jokes based on racial differences.
  • Offensive vandalism, such as offensive graffiti and comments placed around physical settings directed towards a group.
  • Patronising and making fun of an individual’s customs, music, accent, dress, clothing attire and physical appearance.
  • The refusal to work, co-operate or amicably engage with others because of their race, culture or religious belongings.


Cyber Bullying

Cyber bullying is the deliberate use of social media platforms, information and communication technologies, new media technologies i.e. (email, phones, chatrooms, discussion groups, instant messaging, blogs, video clips, cameras, hate websites/pages, blogs and gaming sites) to repeatedly harass, threaten, harm, humiliate and victimise another with the intention to cause harm, reputation damage, discomfort and intimidation.

Common acts of cyber bullying behaviour may include:

  • Deliberately ignoring another online or exclusion of others from sites or platforms.
  • Flaming.
  • Harassment.
  • Name calling.
  • Denigration.
  • Threats to harm.
  • Impersonation and deleting posts.
  • Outing and Trickery.
  • Cyber-stalking.
  • Sexting.
  • Pornography.

For more information on the above definitions visit – cyber bullying.

Homophobic Bullying

In a social setting, homophobia can occur in various forms, however the most commonly practiced and experienced form of homophobic bullying is verbal.

Homophobic bullying is the deliberate and intentional inappropriate behaviour or comments directed towards an individual or a group that is of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning and Intersex (LGBTQI) background.

Verbal Homophobic Bullying and Abuse Can Include:

  • Teasing, name calling, spreading rumours associated with a person’s gender, sexuality, making suggestive remarks and social isolation through verbal means i.e. “no you cannot join in because you’re gay.”
  • Homophobic bullying can include physical violence, threats, damage to personal belongings, social exclusion and cyber bullying.
  • At Bully Zero we have a zero tolerance to bullying directed towards LGBTQI background individuals or groups. We will continue to protect and prevent harm experienced or generated towards individuals with a LGBTQI background.