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Sometimes you need outside help

Sometimes we can get stuck in the mindset of having to always be the expert or having to handle every situation. There are be times with bullying behaviour that the best course of action is to refer it to the authorities. When the behaviours involved are very serious or illegal you need to consider if the appropriate authorities should get involved.
You should assess the bullying behaviour for its seriousness and the possible level of risk that is posed to the target. Behaviours that are potentially illegal, aggressive or violent may need to be dealt with outside of your organisation. Behaviours to consider might include: physical aggression or violence, use of weapons, theft, damage to property, threats to harm or kill, stalking, harassment (including sexually), sexual assault, sexting, vilification and deprivation of liberty.


  • Actively addresses high levels of fear, injury or personal danger through serious action and consequences
  • Authorities have the training and legal powers to deal with serious issues
  • Authorities have experience and powers in effectively gaining the necessary evidence required
  • Provides access to independent processes and support services
  • Demonstrates the seriousness of the behaviours and that there are consequences
  • Investigators impartial and less personally involved
  • Can offer better protection in cases of violence


  • Begins a pathway into the legal/justice system for the user of the behaviour with longer term impacts especially for young people
  • Authorities work within frameworks that may not be able to provide the most relevant assistance
  • Adversarial approach to resolving the case
  • Outcome based on a punishment framework
  • Removes the power and outcome decisions from the organisation
  • Process may not offer any support to the victim
  • Requires expert support to all parties (e.g. legal representation) to ensure fairness and natural justice
  • Uses resources that can be costly to the community or the parties involved

We need to have balance in how we react. While not wanting to overreact there can also be danger in under reacting. Minimising serious and illegal behaviour does untold damage to targets as well sending the wrong message to the perpetrators. If boundaries are not put into place how are the users of this behaviour able to learn what is and is not okay?

A range of options are required to deal with behaviours that are not okay and you should not forget that reporting to authorities is another option to consider.
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