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The Friendly Schools Friendly Families project: Maximising parental involvement in school-based bullying prevention interventions

Much research has identified the deleterious effects of bullying on school age children as well as the link between family functioning and bullying. In a 2007 study conducted by the CHPRC 25% of students reported they were bullied every two weeks or more often. Factors such as poor supervision and lack of attention in the home, acceptance of aggressive behaviour, parental modelling of aggressive behaviours and sibling bullying are associated with this bullying behaviour. Long term bullying can have serious long-term social, emotional and physical health as well as legal and economic consequences.

The Friendly Schools Friendly Families Project (FSFF) aimed to assess the effectiveness of a parent, whole-school and classroom-based bullying intervention that included policy review and enhancement, staff training and parent and community involvement aimed at preventing, reducing and managing bullying in primary schools. The Project was a three-year randomised control trial that specifically targeted and tracked a cohort of Year 4 and 6 students (aged 9 & 11 respectively), as well as the parents of Year 2, 4 and 6 students (aged 7, 9 & 11 respectively) from April 2002 to November 2003.

In brief FSFF Project found that, after one year of the intervention, students in the high intervention group were less likely to be bullied than those in the low intervention group. In particular for the Year 4 cohort, after one year of the intervention, students in the low intervention group were twice as likely to report being bullied regularly (every few weeks or more often) than those in the high intervention group. Students in the low intervention group among the Year 6 cohort, reported they were 1.5 times more likely than the high intervention group to be bullied.

As a result of extraordinary demand for the intervention materials tested during the Friendly Schools and Friendly Schools Friendly Families Projects, they were released for national dissemination, and since 2005 over 2,000 schools across Australia were trained in their use. For more information on how to purchase your copy of the CHPRC’s successful evidence-based bullying intervention materials, please see the Friendly Schools and Families website.


  • Burns, S. Cross, D. Alfonso, H. Maycock, B (2008).  Predictors of bullying among 11-12 year old school students in Australia. Advances in School Mental Health Promotion, 1(2), 49-60.
  • Burns, S. Maycock, B. Brown, G. Cross, D. (2008). “Woodpushers are gay”: The role of provocation in bullying. International Journal of Mental Health Promotion, 10(4), 41-50.
  • Burns, S. Maycock, B. Cross, D. Brown, G. (2008). The Power of peers: why some students bully others to conform. Qualitative Health Research, 18, 1704-1716.
  • Cross, D. Shaw, T. Pearce, N. Erceg, E. Waters, S. Pintabona, Y. Hall, M. (2008). School-based intervention research to reduce bullying in Australia 1999-2007: What works, what doesn’t, and what’s promising? Understanding and Addressing Bullying: An International Perspective, PREVNet Series Volume 1. Editors: Peplar, D., Craig, W. Indiana: AuthorHouse.
  • Cross, D. Pintabona, Y. Hall, M. Hamilton, G. (2004). Validated guidelines for school-based bullying prevention and management. International Journal of Mental Health Promotion, 6(3), 34-42.

Project Duration


Funding body



Professor Donna Cross
Curtin University, Associate Professor Clare Roberts
Associate Professor Marg Hall
Dr Shelley Beatty

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