It is unacceptable to partake in any kind of bullying behaviour in Australia. Although nearly all organisations have bullying policies, a significant proportion of workplace bullying goes unnoticed. It can be tricky for the victim to provide evidence that bullying is taking place and therefore defend against it. This is due to the undectable nature of various bullying behaviours. Here is a useful definition and description of workplace bullying as discussed by Namie (2003, www.bullyinginstitute.org): 1) The repeated, health-endangering maltreatment of an employee 2) Bullying can consist of dictative behaviour and omitting behaviour, both of which are driven by the bully’s need to dominate others 3) The bully coerces others to join in bullying behaviour against a selected victim 4) The victim’s work production is hindered by the bullying behaviour, and as a result the employer’s business or organisation suffers 5) It can increase from individual harassment to a whole work unit who are engulfed in fear and productivity is paralysed. Proof of the following in the workplace can signify that bullying or similar behaviour is happening: => Changes in personality or instances of strange behaviour => The presence of concealed agendas which create confusion and disparity between management and staff => The presence of elite groups and power plays, collusion and manipulation of others => The presence of ostracism, intimidation, threats and aggressive behaviour Victims generally share several common traits. Victims of bullying are typically female and they are usually very resilient, as they put up with the behaviour for a lengthy period of time, often without complaint. The victim isn’t weak but often highly accomplished, independent, strong, capable and knowledgable. The bully appears to feel intimidated by the personal qualities of the victim. The bully is often someone who has authority over the victim and recruits others to take part in the bullying, sometimes without their knowledge or awareness. Verbal abuse, undermining, stand-over tactics, criticism, gossiping and false accusations are all common methods utilised by bullies. The covert tactics such as rolling of the eyes, giving the silent treatment and “accidentally” shutting the door in the person’s face are possibly the most damaging and the most difficult to prove. Victims, especially if not very articulate or attentive, may have a “gut feeling” or sense of low self-esteem but may not be able to distinguish any bullying behaviours. Bullying has a deep impact on the victim and creates a significant number of psychological and medical symptoms (In a sample of 1 000 victims, Namie identified 33 specific symptoms). The most typical psychological disorders associated with bullying are depression, anxiety and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Insomnia, weight gain, high blood pressure, heart disease, irritable bowel system and a lowered life expectancy are all possible medical symptoms of bullying over a considerable period of time. Even after the victim settles into a new workplace, these psychological and medical symptoms still persist. Poor productivity, lateness, absenteeism and handing in notice are often the first noticeable signs of bullying. A high staff turnover is usual when a bully is creating dysfunctional interpersonal dynamics within a group of staff. Unfortunately the victim generally ends up quitting their job, getting transferred or fired while the bully rarely loses their job or gets transferred and less than 4% of those who are punished or sanctioned actually quit their bullying behaviour. The majority of bullies get promoted or rewarded in some way; very few are made accountable for their behaviour. More than 70% of victims end up quitting, being transferred or fired – due to this, organisations with bullies continually lose valuable, competent employees. The subtle signs of psychological distress caused by workplace bullying are only identifiable with established, effective psychological assessment techniques. Interventions which alleviate tension, mediate conflicts and develop a harmonious work environment are essential in order to attain a deep and permanent psychological transformation.