Offer individual assistance within the school

Students and parents need access to trained, professional school-based staff, and students need to know who they are and where they can be found. Schools need to help the target and her family deal with the painful impact of the bullying, take responsibility for her behaviours, and help her learn social survival skills. They need to respectfully assist bullies to handle the accusations and to develop empathy, and their families to develop appropriate parenting patterns. Remember that vulnerable children who feel embarrassed and upset will not go to just anyone.

• The school counsellor/guidance officer/educational psychologist/ social worker is ideal, especially if he or she covers a variety of areas - then children won't fear stigma and labelling, because they could be seeing him or her for another issue, e.g. study methods, career choice.

• Many schools have designated, trained, support staff, e.g. student welfare coordinators, pastoral care teacher, school nurse, chaplain, year level coordinator.

• Schools without access to a resident counsellor require consultant mental health professionals with the time, resources and expertise to deal with school bullying.

• Bullies know which behaviours are acceptable or not. If they experience a downward spiral in the future, they may sue the school for not providing them with adequate help earlier on.

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