We all have a right to feel safe and respected.
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:
Where to go for help
The Australian Human Rights Commission (1300 656 419) has a complaint
handling service that can investigate and resolve complaints of discrimination,
harassment and bullying that are covered by federal discrimination law
Free and confidential services are available.