Statistics on how much school bullying costs society are sobering, no matter which country you look at. In Australia, for example, bullies instigate more than 45 million separate bullying incidents each year against more than 900,000 targets – or more than one per week.

Financially, the overall cost of this behaviour for families, individuals and communities is staggering. More than $500 million of this cost is incurred during the school years but most of the expense happens after graduation – another $1.8 billion. Why? Because being bullied at school leads to loss of workforce productivity, a higher incidence of chronic health issues and costs associated with continued bullying behaviours that extend to violence later.

Bullied students are hindered academically so their income potential can be compromised – this impact alone is estimated at $500 million over twenty years. Obesity, mental health issues, eating disorders, self-harm and other bullying-related health issues cost an estimated $300 million over the same period.

Dealing with bullying incidents chews up a lot of time for senior school staff, too. In Australia, this amounts to around 20 hours per week in secondary schools and 10 hours in primary schools.

Bullying costs us all!

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Jessica Hickman is a professional member of these associations: