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Bullying and harassment

Bullying and harassment involve a more powerful person or group oppressing a less powerful person or group because of a perceived difference, such as culture, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, religion or physical appearance.

Bullying and harassment:

  • may be physical (hitting, kicking, pinching), verbal (name-calling, teasing), psychological (standover tactics, gestures), social (social exclusion, rumours, putdowns) or sexual (physical, verbal or nonverbal sexual conduct)
  • may be done directly (face to face) or indirectly (via mobiles or the internet – also known as “cyber bullying”).

If someone harasses or bullies you, tell them you don’t like what they’re doing and ask them to stop. If the behaviour persists, tell somebody in authority. Unless you take action, the behaviour may never go away.

No student should face bullying or harassment. It is your right to feel comfortable and safe wherever you are, including your study institution. Make your education provider aware of any instances of such activity. If you feel threatened, you can report the matter to police.

Read more at www.bullyingnoway.com.au


Discrimination is treating one person or group less fairly or less well than others. It may be direct or indirect and based on the same factors as bullying and harassment.

Discrimination may be by an individual, a group, or an organisation's policies and practices.

The Australian Human Rights Commission administers Commonwealth law in the area of human rights, anti-discrimination and social justice. Under federal and state/territory anti-discrimination laws, no person should be treated less favourably than others because of their age, race, country of origin, sex, marital status, pregnancy, political or religious beliefs, disability or sexual preference. This applies to most areas, including employment, education, accommodation, buying goods, and access to services such as doctors, banks and hotels. Men and women are equal under the law and for all other purposes.

If you feel your education provider is discriminating against you and you are unable to resolve the issue with them, you can go to the national Anti-Discrimination gateway at www.antidiscrimination.gov.au

If you are working, you have the same rights in the workplace as an Australian citizen. An employer cannot pay you a lower rate or threaten to have your visa revoked. If you feel your employer is discriminating against you, you can contact the Fair Work Ombudsman for information and advice.

The Australian Government’s Diverse Australia Program is an initiative about dealing with cultural, racial and religious intolerance. The program promotes respect, fairness and a sense of belonging for everyone living in Australia regardless of their background through local community projects, partnerships with national organisations and a public information strategy, which includes Harmony Day on 21 March each year.

Read more about making a complaint about your provider at www.aei.gov.au/AEI/ESOS

Read more about human rights in Australia at www.hreoc.gov.au/index.htm

Read more about anti-discrimination in Australia at www.antidiscrimination.gov.au

Read more about fighting discrimination at work at www.fwo.gov.au

Read more about the Diverse Australia Program at www.harmony.gov.au

Read more about your work rights in Australia at www.fairwork.gov.au

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