Knowledge and Resource Hub
10 April 2018

The economic cost of bullying in Australian schools

This report presents the results of an economic impact analysis of the cost of bullying in Australian schools, and specifically Victorian schools. The objective of this analysis was to identify and quantify the breadth of the impacts of bullying across student and adult life to raise awareness about the impacts that bullying has in the community, as well as facilitate discussions amongst key stakeholders to further investigate the issue. The report notes there are approximately 910,000 victims of bullying each year, with an estimated 45 million bullying incidents across all schools, instigated by around 543,000 bully perpetrators. The relationship between bully perpetrators and bully victims is complex, with a portion of students acting as ‘bully-victims’ who are both victim and perpetrators of bullying at different stages. There are an estimated 218,000 bully-victims, representing 24 per cent of victims of bullying and 40 per cent of bully perpetrators. Bullying is an important issue due to its high prevalence among Australian students and the lasting impacts that it has beyond a student’s school years. As technology use continues to rise, so does cyber bullying, which operates in a markedly changed environment where students can find themselves victimised at home as well as in the community or at school. Understanding the economic cost and impacts associated with bullying is critical to inform the design of the appropriate evidence informed programs and prevention measures to reduce prevalence. Bullying is an important issue due to its high
prevalence among Australian students and the lasting impacts that it has beyond a student’s school years. Because of increased technology use cyber bullying is increasing. Therefore students can find themselves victimised at home as well as in the community and/or at school. Understanding the economic cost and impacts associated with bullying is critical to inform the design of the appropriate evidence informed programs and prevention measures to reduce prevalence. The results of the economic analysis are presented.