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Results

More than 1,200 people responded to the Relationships Australia online survey in March 2018.  Around three-quarters of survey respondents (76%) identified as female, with more females than males responding in every age group (figure 1).  Four-fifths (79%) of survey respondents were aged between 20‑59 years, and more than 50% of respondents comprised women aged between 30‑49 years (inclusive).

As for previous surveys, the demographic profile of survey respondents remains consistent with our experience of the groups of people that would be accessing the Relationships Australia website.

Almost all survey respondents thought that bullying was a problem in schools (see figure 2).  More than 65% of female survey respondents and 53% of male survey respondents reported that bullying in schools was a big problem.

 

Survey respondents were asked which types of bullying they considered caused the most harm to children. Options include physical bullying (pushing, tripping, hitting or damaging or stealing property); verbal (name-calling, hurtful teasing, insults or humiliating or threatening someone); social (excluding someone from a group or an activity, gossiping or spreading rumours about someone); or electronic (using the internet or a mobile phone or device to send e-mails, text messages or pictures to threaten someone or hurt their feelings).  More than three-quarters of female survey respondents and 60% of male respondents reported all types of bullying caused harm to children.  The next most commonly reported type of bullying causing harm was social bullying (figure 3).

Figure 4 shows that schools are commonly where people seek help for bullying, with almost 50% of men and women reporting that they would seek help from the school if they were worried that a child was being bullied.  Almost 50% of women and one-third of men would seek help from a variety of sources, including schools, if they were worried that a child was being bullied.

There were no significant differences in the reports of male and female survey respondents when they were asked about their confidence in a school’s ability to deal with bullying (figure 5).  More than 50% of survey respondents were not confident and a further 25% were neither confident or unconfident that schools deal effectively with bullying.

The majority of survey respondents (52%) indicated a preference for a range of actions to improve the handling of bullying (figure 6).  The second most commonly preferred action for improving the handling of bullying was to engage experts to teach children about bullying and respectful behaviour (23%) followed by inviting parents to participate in bullying programs (11%).

Relationships Australia State and Territory websites