Bullying

What is bullying?
The impact of bullying
Have you seen someone being bullied?
What to do if you are bullied
Where can I go for support?
Helpful links

Western Sydney University is committed to ensuring a safe and healthy environment, free from bullying, where all members of the University are treated inclusively and with respect.

What is bullying?

Bullying is repeated, unreasonable behaviour that is intimidating, degrading or humiliating. Bullying has the potential to create a risk to health, safety and wellbeing, including psychological, emotional and physical health. It may take place face to face on campus, via phone or email, on-line or within residential colleges.

Bullying may be discriminatory, based on someone's race, gender, sexual orientation, disability or religious beliefs or have no apparent cause.

Bullying may occur between individuals or groups or between students and staff. If you're a staff member who has experienced bullying in the workplace please visit the Stop Bullying Toolkit.


Bullying is not acceptable to anyone, anytime, anywhere.


Some examples of bullying may include:

  • Verbal abuse, including shouting, aggressive or offensive language, name-calling and personal insults
  • Threatening physical behaviour including physical gestures and unwelcomed physical contact
  • Abusive and inappropriate emails, phone calls or posts on social network sites, either in nature or frequency
  • Distributing offensive photos, graphic material or messages
  • Non-constructive criticism about work or academic performance including derogatory, demeaning and insulting remarks
  • Excluding or isolating students from normal study interaction without justification

Bullying is not:

  • A single display of unacceptable behaviour
  • Reasonable instances of guidance, counselling or managing the study performance of students
  • Applying student progress and misconduct procedures, academic integrity procedures or assessment due dates

The impact of bullying

Bullying can have a negative affect on mental and physical wellbeing. People who are being bullied may experience decreased self esteem which can lead to reduced attendance at University and withdrawal from social activities. They may experience depression, stress related illnesses, substance abuse and display self-harming behaviours.

Have you seen someone being bullied?

Help make Western Sydney University a learning environment that is free from bullying. If you have witnessed bullying at University you can help by speaking up and taking steps to help someone who is being bullied. Do not be a silent bystander or encourage bullying behaviour in any way.  Support the person who is being bullied to ask for help, show them this web page or direct them to the Student Welfare Service for further information.

What to do if you are bullied

If you experience or witness bullying do something about it.

Record the behaviours in writing:

  • Make note of the date, time, place and witnesses that were present
  • Describe the behaviours that are upsetting you
  • Describe any impact the bullying has had on you e.g. did you take any time off your studies or have you been to see a doctor or counsellor?

Resolve the matter. If you can, speak to the bully directly. Make it clear that their behaviour is unwelcome and unacceptable and ask them to stop. This may resolve the matter.

Report the behaviours to the University. If the bullying allegation is against a student, report it to the relevant Dean. If the bullying allegation is regarding a staff member, report it to their supervisor or relevant Dean. You can find the contact details of staff members on the Staff Directory. If you are unsure of who you should be reporting the matter to seek advice from the Student Welfare Service.
You'll need to provide information about each instance of bullying behaviour, which is why it's important to record details each time that bullying occurs.
If you are bullied by a student or group of students, the matter will be dealt with under the Student Misconduct Rule.
If you are bullied by a staff member, the matter will be dealt with under the Bullying Prevention Policy.

For more information on how bullying is handled at Western Sydney University please see the bullying flowchart PDF, 172.55 KB(opens in a new window).

Ensure that you stay informed about the progress of your report. Ask the Dean for regular updates.

Where can I go to for further support?

If you have been bullied and would like assistance reporting it, seek support. The Student Welfare Service can explain the type of information you should be recording and talk you through the process of getting help.  Contact the Student Welfare Service at welfareservice@westernsydney.edu.au.
If you are experiencing bullying and would like to speak to a Counsellor please contact counselling@westernsydney.edu.au.
If you have followed all of the steps above and you are not satisfied with the outcome you can make a formal complaint to the Complaints Resolution Unit. They will ask you what you have done to try to resolve the situation before they can investigate the complaint. See the Complaints Handling and Resolution Policy.

Helpful links

Reachout (opens in a new window) is an online youth mental health service. This page provides detailed information about different types of bullying and links to external support services.

Stop Bullying Toolkit provides further information about bullying including policy and procedures for staff.

Facebook Safety Centre (opens in a new window) provides you with the tools you need to stay safe while using Facebook. This includes managing account and privacy settings and reporting abusive or offensive content.