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What is bullying?

Bullying is verbal, physical, social or psychological aggressive behaviour by one person or a group of people directed towards a less powerful person or group. This behaviour is intended to cause harm, distress or fear.

Bullying can include a range of behaviours from social, verbal, physical, psychological, aggressive behaviour that is intended to cause harm, distress or fear. For young people particularly, the potential for bullying using social media sites such as facebook are increasingly common.

Serious bullying behaviour is a criminal offence. This is colloquially known as 'Brodie's law'.

Sexting offences

From 3 November 2014 a person may also be charged with an offence if they threaten to publish an intimate image of a person to third parties.

See Sexting offences

More information


Crimes Act 1958 (Vic)

  • s. 21A—stalking
  • s. 320—maximum term of imprisonment for criminal defamation is 10 years jail

See Crimes Act 1958 (Vic)(opens in a new window)

Related pages


Department of Education

The Victorian government site, bully stoppers, informs young people and their parents about bullying behaviour and what they can do to make it stop.

See Department of Education and Early Childhood development—Bully stoppers(opens in a new window)

Youth law Australia

The site was developed by the National Children's and Youth Law Centre, an independent not for profit organisation that supports children and young people by informing them about their right to justice.

See 'Bullying' under the Victoria tab in Youth law Australia(opens in a new window)

See also Youth law Australia—Cyber safety(opens in a new window).