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School Bullying Claims
Are you thinking “can I sue school for bullying? In short, the answer is yes, but whether a school bullying claim will be successful depends on many things. One of those factors is whether you have experienced school bullying and harassment lawyers fighting for you every step of the way.
How common is school bullying?
Unfortunately, school bullying is very common. One study of 20,832 Australian students aged between 8 and 14 years found that 25% of students reported being bullied every few weeks or more, with the highest prevalence rates being reported by children in Year 5 (ages 10–11).
Our lawyers will help you navigate the complex process of making a motor vehicle compensation claim and handle the compensation process for you, allowing you to concentrate on recovering from your injuries.
What is school bullying?
Systemic bullying of children is a real problem which can have significant long lasting psychological impacts well into adulthood. We know that in extreme cases it can also lead to suicide in some children and even in adults later in life.
It’s important however to distinguish between normal disagreements or teasing between kids and actual bullying.
Bullying generally has these three key features:
- There’s a power imbalance between the bully and the victim. This can be something such as a difference in size or age, or the bully being part of a group and the victim being someone without peer support.
- The behaviour is intentional and repeated. This is the critical feature of harmful conduct. It is not conduct that occurs as a one off, but rather deliberate, calculated conduct which is repeated over a relatively long period of time.
- The behaviour causes harm. It is well established that bullying causes long term psychological harm particularly where children are exposed to it.
Bullying can cause victims to engage in avoidance behaviour such as a child not wanting to go to school to avoid being bullied. It can include somatic symptoms such as children complaining of stomach aches or headaches, brought on by the fear and anxiety of being bullied.
Most concerningly however, it can lead to long term psychological damage such as depression and anxiety which may require professional intervention to treat.
What’s the message for schools here – what are schools getting wrong?
Unfortunately, some schools and teachers continue to not appreciate the harmful effects of school bullying. Your child’s school should, at the least, do the following in response to your complaints of bullying against your child:
- Take complaints of bullying seriously. It is a long outdated notion that kids should “man up” or “ignore” bullying. This approach contributes to mental harm because it exposes children to the bullying for longer periods of time. It also discourages students from making complaints.
- Act on complaints. All complaints of bullying should be taken seriously and acted upon early.
- Following its own policies. Every school has a bullying policy, yet it is unfortunately commonplace that schools fail to follow their own policies when dealing with complaints of bullying. Having a clearly defined process makes it easier for teachers to understand precisely how to respond to reports of bullying.
- Make sure students know about the policy and how they can report bullying- One study of 26 schools found that although all 26 schools reported having a written anti-bullying policy, less than 50% of students were aware of it.
Can you sue a private school for bullying?
School bullying claims are very complicated and difficult to prove. That’s why you need an experienced school bullying lawyer in your corner fighting for you every step of the way.
School bullying claims not limited to public schools. If you are wondering “can I sue a private school for bullying” the answer is yes. All schools, public, private and independent, have an obligation to prevent bullying against their students.
For a school bullying claim to be successful, you will need to prove that:
(a) Your child was subjected to bullying at school;
(b) That the school was negligent in failing to prevent the bullying experienced by your child. This could mean that the school failed to take steps in response to your complaints or failed to implement a system to prevent the bullying;
(c) That your child’s injury could have been avoided if the school had taken action to prevent the bullying;
(d) Your child has suffered an injury and incurred losses as a result of your injuries. These injuries need to be more than hurt feelings; and
(e) The negligence of the school was the cause of your child’s injury and losses.
How much can victims get and what typically gets taken into consideration?
This is a difficult question. There is no one size fits all. Courts do not award damages based on how bad they may think the actions of the bullies were. Instead damages are awarded based on the damage or harm suffered by an individual plaintiff.
Ultimately this depends on the individual facts of a case. Factors that are relevant include:
(a) The nature and extent of physical and/or psychological harm suffered by a claimant and whether that is permanent or will resolve or at least partially resolve with treatment over time;
(b) The degree to which the harm impacts the person’s capacity to earn and income in the future. Psychological conditions such as anxiety or depression are notoriously difficult to treat and may persist well into adulthood. Sufferers may experience periods of relatively good psychological health but suffer recurrences of anxiety or depression of a long period of time, interfering with the person’s ability to earn the income that they otherwise could have earned absent the injury.
(c) The nature of the treatment that the person may require and the duration that they will require the treatment. The cost of psychological treatment can be very expensive, particularly where it is required over long period of time.
(d) The nature and extent to which the injury interferes with the person’s day to day activities and may prevent them from enjoying sports, recreational activities, hobbies etc.
Experienced school bullying lawyers
Our Principal, Romeo El Daghl, has successfully acted in numerous school bullying cases in which he has obtained substantial compensation for victims of school bullying who have been let down by their schools.
In the case of Gregory v State of NSW, Romeo acted for a plaintiff who had experienced terrible school bullying over many years. The case was brought many years after he left school. The court ultimately found that the plaintiff remained psychiatrically and psychologically disabled by reason an anxiety disorder and depressive disorder which in turn limited his ability to function in everyday life and severely compromised his ability to obtain and sustain employment. He was awarded $468,000 plus costs.
Romeo has also acted in a number of other cases, each of which has been settled without the need to proceed to hearing. In each case, his clients received substantial compensation for their injuries.
No win, no fee costs.
Speak to one of our experienced school bullying lawyers today. It will cost you nothing for Lawpoint to provide you with an initial obligation-free assessment of your child’s claim.
There are no upfront costs to you. If your school bullying claim proceeds, we will accept the case and we only get paid if you win or settle your claim. No win, no fee only applies to our legal costs. You will still need to pay disbursements (the expenses we pay to third parties such as doctors for their report fee).
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