Warning signs of bullying

Changes in mood, behaviour and physical appearance can all be warning signs of being bullied, however, some students may not display any warning signs at all.


Warning signs at school

If a student is being bullied at school they may:

  • become aggressive and unreasonable
  • start to get into fights
  • refuse to talk about what is wrong
  • have unexplained bruises, cuts, scratches, particularly those appearing after recess or lunch
  • have missing or damaged belongings or clothes
  • have falling school grades
  • be alone often or excluded from friendship groups at school
  • show a change in the their ability or willingness to speak up in class
  • appear insecure or frightened
  • be a frequent target for teasing, mimicking or ridicule.

Warning signs at home

A parent may observe changes in their child’s behaviour at home which they can report to the school. Their child may:

  • have trouble getting out of bed
  • not want to go to school
  • change their method or route to school or become frightened of walking to school
  • change their sleeping or eating patterns
  • have frequent tears, anger, mood swings and anxiety
  • have unexplained bruises, cuts and scratches
  • have stomach aches or unexplained pain
  • have missing or damaged belongings or clothes
  • ask for extra pocket money or food
  • arrive home hungry
  • show an unwillingness to discuss, or secrecy about, their online communication.

It might not be bullying

Some changes in behaviour may also be a result of other student issues such as depression or substance abuse, which may require a different response.

Whether it involves bullying or other student issues, schools can help out for example by involving student wellbeing staff.

More information

If you are a student who is being bullied, see: I'm being bullied

If you are a parent whose child is being bullied, see: My child is being bullied​​​​​