Bullying research projects

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Reducing peer victimisation in Australian schools through targeted and universal approaches research project

The Australian Government is contributing funding towards a five year study to determine which programmes are most effective in addressing bullying in schools. Five thousand year 5 and 6 students in schools in New South Wales and Western Australia will take part in the ‘Reducing peer victimisation in Australian schools through targeted and universal approaches’ project.

Professor Ron Rapee of the Centre for Emotional Health at Macquarie University will lead the study which includes an examination of two anti-bullying programmes – ‘Cool Kids’ and ‘Friendly Schools Plus’. The study will establish how effectively these programmes reduce bullying so that the basic elements can be replicated in different circumstances at the school level across Australia.

The Department is joining with the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), and Macquarie University to support this research study which commenced in July 2013.

Prevalence and effectiveness of anti-bullying approaches in Australian Schools study

The Australian Government funded in 2013-14 to 2014-15, an exploratory study on the prevalence and effectiveness of anti-bullying strategies being used in government schools. The study was led by Adjunct Research Professor Ken Rigby of the University of South Australia. Professor Rigby is a renowned expert on bullying prevention.

Schools across six state and territory’s and students from years 5–10 participated in the project. The study gathered relevant information through a combination of questionnaires and interviews from a sample of school personnel, students, parents and educational administrators. The survey was conducted in late 2014 and early 2015 and gathered information on what schools are doing - both proactively and reactively - to counter bullying.

The final report outlines the study’s methodology, together with the results, key findings of the study and recommendations. The report is available on the University of South Australia website.

Covert Bullying Research Projects

The emergence of new technologies has led to covert and cyberbullying becoming an issue for many schools. The Australian Government has commissioned two research projects to better understand these issues and the impact on Australian schools.

The first study investigated the prevalence and impact of covert bullying in Australian school communities - the Australian Covert Bullying Prevalence Study and was conducted by Edith Cowan University. The report provides information at a national level about what constitutes covert bullying, the prevalence of bullying and its impact on victims and perpetrators. The report recommends actions for the Australian Government, state and territory education authorities and schools, to address covert and cyberbullying in Australian schools.

The second study, Behind the Scenes: Insights into the Human Dimension of Covert Bullying was conducted by the University of South Australia in conjunction with Flinders University. This project explored real life experiences of individuals exposed to covert bullying (victim/ perpetrator/ bystander/ teacher/ parent).

Both projects have been completed and the findings can be found below:

Australian Covert Bullying Prevalence Study CHPRC, Edith Cowan University - May 2009

Behind the Scenes: Insight into the Human Dimension of Covert Bullying

Hawke Research Institute for Sustainable Societies - University of South Australia Centre for the Analysis of Educational Futures - Flinders University, SA December 2008