Violence, harassment and bullying are human rights issues that profoundly affect the lives of many people in Australia.
We all have a right to feel safe and respected. We all have a right to live our lives free from violence. Violence, harassment and bullying can violate these rights. They can also impact on other rights, such as the right to education and the right to health. Violence, harassment and bullying affect well-being and quality of life.
Victims can experience significant social isolation and feel unsafe. Bullying can lead to emotional and physical harm, loss of self-esteem, feelings of shame and anxiety, and concentration and learning difficulties. Tragically, violence, harassment and bullying can lead to suicide in extreme cases.
These are not issues that concern only children and young people. Violence, harassment and bullying can occur in a number of different environments, including in workplaces, care facilities and in the community, and can affect people of all ages and backgrounds.
Bullying can also take place in cyberspace: over the internet and on mobile phones. New technologies enable the spread of information, ideas and images to large numbers of people very quickly. There are many challenges in protecting people from violence, harassment and bullying in cyberspace.
We all have a responsibility to create a safe environment by standing up against violence, harassment and bullying. If bystanders take safe and appropriate action to stop bullying, we can all be a part of the solution.
The Australian Human Rights Commission and ReachOut.com have developed factsheets for young people on how to deal with bullying, information on young people’s rights, and links and numbers on where to find help. The fact sheets are:
- What is Bullying: Information on what bullying is, and how it can affect you.
- Being a Supportive Bystander: Information and ideas on safely helping and supporting others who are being bullied.
- Know Your Rights: Information on bullying, human rights and responsibilities.
- Workplace Bullying: Information on bullying at work, your rights and how to get help.
- Cyberbullying: Information on what it is and how to get help.