At just ten years old, Emily* faced a distressing situation, common to many schoolchildren but one that none should have to endure—bullying. The relentless torment she experienced left her feeling defeated, leading to school refusal and leaving her parents feeling helpless in the face of their daughter’s pain.

Bullying can have profound and lasting impacts on a child, leading to emotional distress, social withdrawal, and, if left unaddressed, potential serious consequences such as self-harming, suicidal ideation or long-term consequences including anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Approximately one in four Year 4 to Year 9 Australian students (27%) reported being bullied every few weeks or more often.**

Emily’s parents, desperate for a solution, turned to KidsXpress at Macquarie Park for support. Upon entering our program, our therapist embarked on a journey with Emily to help her process and cope with the traumatic experiences that were affecting her so deeply. Using expressive therapy techniques tailored to her age and interests, they provided a safe space for Emily to explore her emotions and navigate the complexities of her ordeal.

Over the course of several weeks, Emily’s progress was evident. The burden of bullying began to lift, and she regained the confidence to face school. The therapeutic intervention not only addressed the immediate emotional challenges but also aimed to prevent potential long-term consequences such as anxiety, which can emerge when bullying experiences go unresolved.

For Emily’s parents, the transformation in their daughter’s well-being was a beacon of hope. The program not only supported Emily but also equipped her parents with tools to provide ongoing support at home. Our therapists also worked with Emily’s school to help them formulate a plan that would alleviate her school refusal and give her teacher additional tools to support Emily as she continued to co-exist with her tormentors, two of whom were in the same class as her.

The pervasiveness of bullying at school and the associated statistics underscore the urgency of interventions, emphasising our commitment to providing tailored support for children like Emily, ensuring a path to healing and emotional well-being. As much as we’d love to, we’re not able to help every victim of bullying, but to be able to support Emily and her family and to witness her remarkable progress and strength over 18 weeks was truly a privilege.

*At KidsXpress, we prioritise the privacy of the children and families we support. While their stories are authentic, stock images and changed names are used to protect their identities.