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Overview of the six methods

The six methods of intervention are used to address cases of bullying encountered in schools.

The six methods of intervention are based upon an analysis of the major alternative and supplementary strategies being used to address cases of bullying encountered in schools.

  • Each has its own rationale and appropriate areas of application, depending on the nature of the case. This could vary widely, for instance in terms of severity, group involvement and whether there has been any provocation.
  • Each has its unique strengths and limitations regarding its use in specific cases.
  • Training in the application of each of the methods is needed, some more than others.
  • It is important to recognise that the methods are not alternatives to taking considered proactive steps to prevent bullying from occurring, such as good classroom management, class discussions of bullying, social skills training, promoting positive bystander behaviour, developing peer support. Such steps can reduce the number of cases that occur.
  • Each method assumes a whole school approach and a well informed understanding of the reasons why each may be used in particular circumstances.

Six Methods of Intervention Vodcast Series

Join Professor Ken Rigby, former school teacher, psychologist, parent and academic, as he draws upon his longstanding experience in providing practical advice to all those who are concerned about the safety and wellbeing of children in schools.

In this series of four workshops Ken presents the six methods of interventions to a small live audience at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image.


The following is a brief description of the methods.

The traditional disciplinary approach

This implies the use of direct sanctions as a punishment administered to students who have bullied someone and also as a general deterrent.

For more information, see Traditional approach.

Strengthening the target

This involves systematically helping the victim to deal more effectively with the person or persons who seek to bully him or her.

For more information, see Strengthening the target.


This is a process in which students in conflict, including bully/victim conflicts, are invited to take part in a session with a mediator, a staff member or peer mediator, to help resolve their differences without any compulsion.

For more information, see Mediation.

Support Group Method

This is a process in which students who have offended against another attend a meeting together with the victim, at which the offender is required to reflect upon the harm that has been done, experience remorse and act restoratively towards the person or persons offended.

For more information, see Support Group Method.

Restorative practice

This is a non-punitive strategy used with groups of students who have engaged in bullying someone. Once identified by the target, the ‘bullies’ meet with the practitioner and other students who have been selected because they are expected to be supportive of the victim (who is not present). Knowledge of the distress experienced by the victim is shared with the group and each member is required to accept responsibility and say how he or she will help that person. The outcome is monitored.

For more information, see Restorative practice.

The Method of Shared Concern

This is a non-punitive multi-stage strategy used with groups of students who are suspected of bullying someone. Suspected bullies are first interviewed individually. The practitioner shares a concern for the bullied student and invites each of them to say what they will do to help. When it is clear that helpful actions have taken place, the suspected bullies meet as a group with the practitioner, plan what they propose to do next, and subsequently meet with the victim to finally resolve the problem.

For more information, see Shared Concern Method.