Types of bullying

Verbal Bullying

Verbal Bullying is the use of words to taunt, threaten, insult, embarrass, put down, swear at, mock or intimidate the victim alone or in front of others.

Verbal bullying is said to be the most common form of bullying in Australia.

Verbal remarks, jokes, sarcasm, teasing and discriminatory name calling could be considered as funny and part of the social dynamic for bullies, but in reality, such remarks can make people feel shy, self-conscious, hopeless and lead to insecurity.

Our work with bullies and bully victims indicate that verbal content, i.e. what the bully says; is usually what the bully is feeling. The bully is thus, attracted to the victim because they may think the victim is powerless, weak, helpless and non-assertive.


Physical Bullying

Involves the use and or threat of the use of physical force and could involve: pushing, kicking, hitting, damage to belongings, locking the victim in a confined area, group intimidation (ganging-up) and intimidating the victim to commit involuntary actions.

Physical bullies seek to establish superiority and continuous control over their victim.


Emotional/social/psychological Bullying

This form of bullying is common among peer relationships, in which a student, partner, colleague or associate may make statements or commit actions that distress the other.

Common acts of emotional bullying include:

  • Alienating and deliberately leaving an individual out of activities;
  • Encouraging others to reject or exclude the individual;
  • Creating unkind rumours and/or gossip and the spreading of such rumours;
  • Repeated ignoring of the other who wishes to establish communication or dialogue;
  • Exclusion from a group and or social activity/activities;
  • Inappropriate stares and intimidating looks;
  • Imitation and impersonation in order to degrade an individual, or group which the individual might belong to i.e. because of their race, religion, sporting, or interest group.


Racial Bullying

Is regarded as hostile and offensive actions against an individual/s because of their country of origin, skin colour, cultural and religious background (and practices) i.e. ethnic origin and or because of their accent.

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 difference;
  • Offensive vandalism, such as offensive graffiti and comments placed around physical settings;
  • Patronising and making fun of customs, music, accents, dress, clothing attire and physical appearances;
  • 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 communications and new media technologies (email, phones, chatrooms, discussion groups, instant messaging, 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, discomfort and intimidation.

Common acts of cyber bullying include:

  • Flaming;
  • Harassment;
  • Denigration;
  • Impersonation;
  • Outing and Trickery;
  • Exclusion;
  • Cyber-stalking;
  • Sexting;
  • Pornography.

For more information on Bullying – Forms of Bullying – 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.

Verbal homophobic abuse can be a number of practices including:

  • Teasing, name calling, spreading of rumours associated with a persons gender or sexuality, suggestive remarks, and social isolation through verbal means e. g “No you cannot join in because you are gay”.

Homophobic bullying can include physical violence, threats, damage to personal belongings, social exclusion and cyber bullying.


How does the bullied victim feel?

  • Scared, afraid, worried, anxious, emotionally hurt, confused, hopeless, upset, physically weak, powerless, guilty (as though they are to blame), miserable, ill, irritated, ashamed, low morale, sad, angry, moody, depressed, disconnected, socially isolated/alone, quiet, weak, unhappy and bad tempered;
  • Low self esteem and loss of self-confidence;
  • Withdrawn and not wanting to attend school;
  • Poor concentration;
  • Problems become bigger;
  • Can have severe physical and mental health outcomes.