The Canberra bullying and life at school project (1996-1999)

kids at school_attribute to USAG- Humphreys on flickr

This project tracked children who bullied others, and were the victims of bullying, and provides insight into their thoughts and actions over a three-year period. In addition, the responses of parents have been recorded, including reports on how they responded to their children’s experiences and how they wished authorities and schools would respond. The responsiveness of schools, as perceived by children and parents, was of central importance in this study.

This project began in 1996 when Eliza Ahmed undertook a PhD involving children from 32 ACT primary schools and their parents. Questionnaires were used to assess who had experienced bullying and who had been involved in bullying, how families coped with these problems, the degree to which schools were successful in controlling bullying problems, and parents’ concerns and wishes for how they wanted schools to respond to the problem in the future. The project was progressed by Braithwaite, Ahmed and Morrison in 1999 when a grant from the Australian Institute of Criminology made it possible to follow up children and parents in 1999 to find out how their lives had changed.

Survey questionnaires:

Life at School 1996 (Child) (PDF, 2.3MB)

Life at School 1999 (Child followup) (PDF, 2.8MB)

Life at School 1996 (Parent) (PDF, 4MB)

Life at School 1999 (Parent followup) (PDF, 1.5MB)

In conjunction with this research program, Brenda Morrison developed a program in the Australian Capital Territory with primary school children to teach them to recognize bullying, to manage bullying problems, and to look after others who were encountering difficulties.


Ahmed, Eliza, Nathan Harris, John Braithwaite and Valerie Braithwaite (2001) Shame Management Through Reintegration, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Morrison, Brenda (2007) Restoring Safe School Communities: A whole school response to bullying, violence and alienation, The Federation Press, Sydney.


Braithwaite, Valerie (2000) ‘Values and restorative justice in schools’, in Heather Strang and John Braithwaite (eds) Restorative Justice: Philosophy to Practice, Ashgate, Aldershot, 121-144.

Braithwaite, Valerie, Eliza Ahmed, Brenda Morrison and Monika Reinhart (2003) ‘Researching the prospects for restorative justice practice in schools: The ‘Life at School Survey’ 1996-9’, in Lode Walgrave (ed) Repositioning Restorative Justice: Restorative Justice, Criminal Justice and Social Context, Willan Publishing, UK, 169-190.

Journal Articles

Ahmed, Eliza (2006) ‘Understanding bullying from a shame management perspective: Findings from a three-year follow-up study’, Educational & Child Psychology 23(2): 25-39.

Ahmed, Eliza and Valerie Braithwaite (2004) ‘Bullying and victimization: Cause for concern for both families and schools’, Social Psychology of Education 7: 35-54.

Ahmed, Eliza and Valerie Braithwaite (2004) ‘“What, me ashamed?”: Shame management and school bullying’, Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency 40(10): 1-26.


Brenda Morrison (2002) ‘Bullying and Victimisation in Schools: A restorative justice approach’, Trends and Issues in Crime and Criminal Justice, no. 219, Australian Institute of Criminology, Canberra.

Eliza Ahmed

Dr Eliza Ahmed

Dr Eliza Ahmed is a Clinical Psychologist. Her research interests lie in the regulation of rule violation as it relates to shame/pride management, interpersonal relationships, and the processes of...

Image: Emeritus Professor Valerie Braithwaite

Valerie Braithwaite

Valerie Braithwaite is an interdisciplinary social scientist with a disciplinary background in psychology. She has taught in social and clinical psychology programs at undergraduate and graduate...

Image: Emeritus Professor John Braithwaite

Professor John Braithwaite

John Braithwaite is an Emeritus Professor and Founder of RegNet (the Regulatory Institutions Network), now School of Regulation and Global Governance (RegNet) at the Australian National University...

Nathan Harris

Dr Nathan Harris

Dr Nathan Harris is a Clinical Psychologist. Previously he has held appointments as a Lecturer at the Institute of Criminology, University of Cambridge, and a Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the...

Dr Brenda Morrison

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Society, safety and health

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