Aggression relates to words or actions (both overt and covert) that are directed towards another and intended to harm, distress, coerce or cause fear.
Antisocial behaviour pattern
An antisocial behaviour pattern is one of repeated behaviour that violates, and shows disregard for, the social values, norms and legal rules established by a community. Typical behaviours in an antisocial behaviour pattern include: getting into fights, harassment, bullying, physical assault, running away from home, stealing, vandalism, persistently lying, using illegal drugs and misusing alcohol.
Bullying is an 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. It can involve an individual or a group misusing their power, or perceived power, over one or more persons who feel unable to stop it from happening. Bullying can happen in person or online, via various digital platforms and devices and it can be obvious (overt) or hidden (covert). Bullying behaviour is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time (for example, through sharing of digital records). Bullying of any form or for any reason can have immediate, medium and long-term effects on those involved, including bystanders. Single incidents and conflict or fights between equals, whether in person or online, are not defined as bullying.
A bystander is someone who sees or knows about maltreatment, harassment, aggression, violence or bullying that is happening to someone else. Supportive bystander behaviours are actions and/or words that are intended to support someone who is being attacked, abused or bullied. The actions of a supportive bystander can stop or diminish a specific bullying incident or help another student to recover from it.
Child abuse or maltreatment refers to any non-accidental behaviour by parents, caregivers, other adults or older adolescents that is outside the norms of conduct and entails a substantial risk of causing physical or emotional harm to a child or young person. Such behaviours may be intentional or unintentional and can include acts of omission (ie neglect) and commission (ie abuse). Child abuse is commonly divided into five main subtypes: physical abuse; emotional maltreatment; neglect; sexual abuse; and the witnessing of family violence.
Child in need of protection
A child or young person who is or has been at risk of abuse or neglect and who has no-one with parental responsibility who is willing and able to protect them. There are variations to this definition in different states, territories and jurisdictions and to the threshold at which statutory services can intervene.
Child neglect refers to the failure by a parent or caregiver to provide a child (where they are in a position to do so) with the conditions that are culturally accepted as being essential for their physical and emotional development and wellbeing. This can be physical, emotional, educational, or environmental neglect.
Child physical abuse
Generally, child physical abuse refers to the non-accidental use of physical force against a child that results in harm to the child. Physically abusive behaviours include shoving, hitting, slapping, shaking, throwing, punching, kicking, biting, burning, strangling and poisoning. The fabrication or induction of an illness by a parent or carer (previously known as Munchausen syndrome by proxy) is also considered physically abusive behaviour.
Statutory services designed to protect children who are at risk of serious harm.
Child sexual abuse
Any sexual activity between a child under the age of consent (16 in most Australian states) and an adult or older person (ie a person five or more years older than the victim) is child sexual abuse. Child sexual abuse can also be any sexual behaviour between a child and an adult in a position of power or authority over them (eg a teacher); the age of consent laws do not apply in such instances due to the strong imbalance of power that exists between young people and authority figures, as well as the breaching of both personal and public trust that occurs when professional boundaries are violated.
Circle Time is a structured educational strategy used widely in Australian schools as a way of promoting social and emotional literacy. It can be used in early childhood, primary or secondary settings. It contributes to a sense of classroom and school connectedness and helps to build positive relationships. The development of a supportive classroom ethos makes it less likely that bullying will occur and more likely that, if it does, students will assist and support each other. Circle Time can also be used as a strategy for resolving classroom concerns or conflicts and issues that are affecting the whole school community.
Conflict is a mutual disagreement, argument or dispute between people where no-one has a significant power advantage and both feel equally aggrieved.
Covert bullying is a subtle type of non-physical bullying which usually isn't easily seen by others and is conducted out of sight of, and often unacknowledged by, adults. Covert bullying behaviours mostly inflict harm by damaging another's social reputation, peer relationships and self-esteem. Covert bullying can be carried out in a range of ways such as spreading rumours, conducting a malicious social exclusion campaign, or through the use of internet or mobile phone technologies.
Cyber exploitation is the use of internet or mobile phone technologies to take advantage of another. Examples include: asking others to send sexually explicit photographs of themselves; stealing someone's identity and impersonating them (eg to subscribe to services or purchase goods and services in their name); or using unscrupulous sales tactics (eg pop-ups).
Cyber harassment is a single episode of aggression (eg an insult, threat, nasty denigrating comment) against a specific person, carried out through internet or mobile phone technologies.
Potential risks that students are exposed to when using internet or mobile phone technologies. These include: the temptation to misuse technology, cyber exploitation, self-exposure and cyberbullying.
Cyberbullying is a term used to describe bullying that is carried out through internet or mobile phone technologies. It is often combined with offline bullying. It may include a combination of behaviours such as pranking (ie hang-up calls), sending insulting text messages, publishing someone's private information, creating hate sites, or implementing social exclusion campaigns in social networking sites. It is also cyberbullying when a student uses technology to run a multi-step campaign to bully another student (eg setting another student up to be assaulted, video recording their humiliation, posting the video-recording online and then sending the website address to others).
Cybersafe behaviours are the safe, respectful and responsible use of internet and mobile phone technology.
Discrimination occurs when people are treated less favourably than others because of their race, culture or ethnic origin; religion; physical characteristics; gender; sexual orientation; marital, parenting or economic status; age; ability or disability. Discrimination is often ongoing and commonly involves exclusion or rejection.
E-crimes are illegal actions carried out through the use of internet or mobile phone technology. They include: child pornography; fraud; impersonation; or sending words or images that cause offence, or distress, menace or threaten another person. Most of these are crimes under Australian federal law but some are also (or only) crimes under some Australian state laws.
Evaluation in relation to schools is the process of measuring the value of a program or intervention. It is a structured, staged process of identifying, collecting and considering information to determine goals, progress and outcomes. Evaluation is central to good practice and ensuring an evidence-informed approach to school safety.
An evidence-informed approach considers research that demonstrates effective or promising directions and practices that have been carried out in different countries, cultures, school systems and student populations in terms of its relevance for one's own school.
Harassment is behaviour that targets an individual or group due to their identity, race, culture or ethnic origin; religion; physical characteristics; gender; sexual orientation; marital, parenting or economic status; age; ability or disability and that offends, humiliates, intimidates or creates a hostile environment. Harassment may be an ongoing pattern of behaviour, or it may be a single act. It may be directed randomly or towards the same person/s. It may be intentional or unintentional (ie words or actions that offend and distress one person may be genuinely regarded by the person doing them as minor or harmless).
Homophobia is an irrational fear of, aversion to, negative attitudes towards or discrimination against, homosexuality or people or students who identify as being lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer or of no specific gender. Homophobic attitudes underpin many bullying situations. Discrimination based on perceived or actual gender identity or sexual orientation is against the law.
The legal requirement to report suspected cases of child abuse and neglect is known as mandatory reporting. All states and territories possess mandatory reporting requirements of some description. However, the people mandated to report and the abuse types for which it is mandatory to report vary across Australian states and territories.
Method of shared concern
The method of shared concern (developed by Anatol Pikas in Sweden) has the following steps: students who are suspected of bullying another student are interviewed individually in a non-blaming manner and asked to indicate how they can improve the situation; the targeted student is then interviewed and the overall situation is carefully monitored; when progress in the reduction of the bullying behaviour has been confirmed, a meeting of all those who took part in the bullying is convened; a plan is then made to involve the student who was bullied in a concluding meeting (with those who were involved in the bullying) at which a negotiated solution is achieved.
National Strategy for Young Australians
The National Strategy for Young Australians provides the Australian Government's vision for all young people to grow up safe, healthy, happy and resilient and to have the opportunities and skills they need to learn, work, engage in community life and influence decisions that affect them.
Online grooming describes a series of actions undertaken by an adult that are designed to establish what appears to be a friendly and caring relationship with a child. This is the first step towards slowly leading them to participate in sexual activity for the personal gratification of the adult. Their grooming behaviours are aimed at slowly reducing the child's inhibitions in relation to talking about and viewing sexual behaviour and arousing their sexual curiosity. The adult may send them sexually explicit material or talk about different types of sexual activity. Some adults pretend to be younger than they really are. After a while the child is encouraged to engage in ever more personal communication (eg phone calls and text messages), then perhaps to send explicit photos and then to meet them face-to-face. Some do not successfully move to these last stages but still obtain sexual gratification from their sexually based communication with the child.
Online hate websites
Websites (or other online sites) that have been established for the purpose of bullying another. They contain insulting and contemptuous remarks or images and encourage others to sign on and indicate their hatred of a nominated person and add more disparaging comments.
Positive behaviour management approaches
Positive behaviour management approaches are those that stress prevention, support and the avoidance of confrontation and that focus more on the development of values, relationships and skills enabling positive student behaviour than on punishment for student misbehaviour.
Positive behaviour support (PBS)
Positive behaviour support (PBS) is an approach to behaviour management that aims to prevent and reduce antisocial and challenging behaviours by: rearranging the student's learning environment so that factors that have been identified as maintaining inappropriate or unacceptable behaviours are removed; teaching pro-social skills; providing positive consequences for pro-social behaviour, and minimising the use of negative strategies such as punishment.
Power imbalance refers to a situation where one person or group has a significant advantage over another that enables them to coerce or mistreat another for their own ends. In a bullying situation this power advantage may arise from the context (eg having others to back you up), from assets (eg access to a weapon) or from personal characteristics (eg being stronger, more articulate or more able to socially manipulate others).
Pro-social values emphasise the importance of harmony and concern for others. They include: respect, acceptance of diversity, honesty, fairness, friendliness and inclusion, compassion (kindness), cooperation and responsibility. These values assist students to develop a moral map to guide their behaviour and choices.
A punitive approach is the application of negative consequences such as detention, suspension and expulsion for aggressive, violent or bullying behaviour.
Racism and racial harassment
Racism is the assumption that members of one race are intrinsically superior to members of another race or races. This assumption of superiority is often used to justify discrimination and mistreatment. Racial harassment involves unwanted and one-sided words or actions towards a person (or persons) of a specific race that offend, demean, annoy, alarm or abuse. If these words or actions are repeatedly directed towards the same person it is called racial bullying. Harassment based on race is against the law.
Resilience is the ability to cope and bounce back after encountering negative events, difficult situations, challenges or adversity and to return to almost the same level of emotional wellbeing. It is also the capacity to respond adaptively to difficult circumstances and still thrive.
This primary prevention strategy seeks to prevent domestic and family violence through education. The strategy focuses on preventing violent behaviour by educating and facilitating young people to develop skills and knowledge that show them how to behave in positive and respectful ways in intimate relationships.
In this approach to behaviour management, the term 'restorative' is used to stress that when a student misbehaves, restoring relationships, repairing harm and learning perspective-taking and social responsibility is more important and effective than simply delivering punishment for their misbehaviour. Restorative practices include: Circle Time (and conference circles) in which students sit in a circle and, using a structured format, discuss and problem-solve an issue that has affected the whole class or specific members of the class; the 'restorative interview' where the teacher uses an incident of misbehaviour as an educative opportunity for teaching empathy, consequential thinking and the importance of making amends in order to repair harm and relationships; or the more formal 'restorative conference' that is used with more serious or ongoing misbehaviour and usually involves senior staff, parents and carers.
The school community is considered to comprise students, school staff (eg teachers and other professionals, administrators, other support staff and volunteers), parents, guardians, carers and others with an interest in the school.
School connectedness is the belief by students that adults in the school care about their learning as well as about them as individuals. Increasing the number of students who feel connected to their school is likely to impact on critical accountability measures.
Schoolwide positive behaviour support (SWPBS)
Schoolwide positive behaviour support is a whole-school approach to behaviour management.
Sexism is the assumption that one gender is intrinsically superior to the other gender. This assumption often underpins discrimination, harassment, and exclusion. Sexism can involve discrimination against a gender as a whole or involve the application of stereotypes to individuals according to their perceived masculinity or femininity that disrespects or limits their autonomy. Discrimination based on one’s sexuality or gender is against the law.
Sexting is sending sexually explicit photographs of oneself or others using mobile phone technology either by request or spontaneously. Requests are often made by a student's current (or potential) romantic partner. Sometimes such photos are sent (without permission) to many other people, or used to coerce or blackmail after a relationship break-up. Sexting is against the law and students need to be made aware of the consequences of illegally posting sexual images online.
Sexual harassment is any unwanted, unwelcome or uninvited behaviour of a sexual nature that makes a person feel humiliated, intimidated or offended. Sexual harassment can take many different forms and may include physical contact, verbal comments, jokes, propositions, the display of offensive material or other behaviour that creates a hostile environment. Harassment based on sexual orientation is against the law.
Social and emotional learning (SEL)
Social and emotional learning involves students having opportunities to learn and practise social skills such as: cooperation, managing conflict, making friends, coping and being resilient, recognising and managing their own feelings and being empathic.
A Socratic Circle is a structured and collaborative strategy, used mostly in secondary schools, that can contribute to effective social behaviour and high-quality group discussion and debate. All students are asked in advance to consider their responses to questions about a significant issue or a specific text.
Student voice refers to the encouragement of young people's active participation in shared decision making and consequent actions.
Student wellbeing is a student's level of satisfaction about the quality of their life at school. Optimal (or desirable) wellbeing is characterised by positive feelings and attitude, positive relationships with other students and teachers, resilience, and satisfaction with self and learning experiences at school.
Support group approach
The support group approach is a revision by Robinson and Maines (2008) of their earlier no-blame approach. In this procedure the teacher starts by interviewing the student who is being bullied and getting agreement from them to put together a support group. This group consists of students who have been identified as being involved in the bullying (but who are not confronted or blamed) as well as students who tend to be kind and empathic. The support group meets weekly (without the bullied student) to plan ways to support the student who is being bullied and assist in improving their quality of life at school. The teacher also checks weekly with the bullied student to see if things have improved. This is an approach that may be more suitable for less severe bullying situations.
Violence is the intentional use of physical force or power, threatened or actual, against another person/s that results in psychological harm, injury or in some cases death. Violence may involve provoked or unprovoked acts and can be a single incident, a random act or can occur over time.
A whole-school approach focuses on positive partnerships and assumes that all members of the school community (ie teachers, support staff, students and parents) have a significant role to play in addressing aggression, harassment and bullying and promoting a supportive school culture. A whole-school approach also involves all areas of the school: policy and procedures, teaching practices, curriculum, and the organisation and supervision of the physical and social environment of the school. All teachers accept responsibility for preventing and managing aggression, harassment and bullying and respond consistently and sensitively according to the agreed procedures. Safe school messages and practices are not just added on but are embedded in many areas of the curriculum and in the daily life of the school.
Witnessing of family violence
The witnessing of family violence has been broadly defined as 'a child being present (hearing or seeing) while a parent or sibling is subjected to physical abuse, sexual abuse or psychological maltreatment, or is visually exposed to the damage caused to persons or property by a family member's violent behaviour' (Higgins, 1998:104). Research has shown that children who witness domestic violence tend to experience significant disruptions in their psychosocial wellbeing, often exhibiting a similar pattern of symptoms to other abused or neglected children.