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When year 12 ended Hannah received an award at her Valedictory dinner for ‘Best Bullying Speech. She still sees some of the kids that bullied her but doesn’t mind bumping into them now days. 

Updated: Jun 4

CHAT SESSION 58 with Hannah Swinnerton

Topic- Hannah went from being a ‘Victim to Becoming a Survivor’

Catch up and listen to our chat session

Monday 3rd June 2024 1pm


Hannah Swinnerton is 29 years old and is sharing her personal story because she wants to create awareness about the impact that bullying can have on people of all ages in particular primary and secondary school students. She hopes that others just like her will find comfort in knowing it is possible to look forward to a brighter future.

For many years Hannah was a victim to bullying and harassment. The repercussions of the awful behaviour she had to deal with affected her mental health and wellbeing. While her own family kept her sane and supported her, she felt teachers at her high school didn't do enough to stop other students from bullying her.


From grade prep to year 12 Hannah was called awful names. She wasn’t skinny and was picked on because of her weight, judged because she wasn't smart in the classroom and was made a target for unwarranted behaviour. She was called names like fatty, ugly, stupid, useless, worthless and hippo. There were also people telling her 'go commit suicide' or 'go dig a hole' and bury yourself in it.


Hannah had no friends and the students who constantly picked on her would spread nasty rumours. She was hated by so many people at school, and it felt like everyone was against her. The bullies at school would tamper with her locker, laugh when she played sport and throw items of food at her.


"You'd think you had friends and then they'd turn on you as well," she said.


Every time she would report it to a teacher, they would ask her what happened and how the situation started. Hannah would be honest in sharing her side of the story but often the teacher would respond with "Ignore them and if it happens again come back and let me know”.  So, as instructed Hannah would do exactly that. Each time she was bullied she would let her teacher know. The ongoing bullying and bad behaviour led to Hannah writing an incident report. The students involved were also instructed to write an incident report. For some reason though Hannah always got the blame for everything.


As a teenager she was also faced with cyber bullying attacks on social media and was constantly getting prank calls to her mobile device. On top of that people were using her photos and cutting her face out replacing it with images of cows and pigs. The bullies would then post the images on social media for everyone to see. 


In the past, victims of bullying at least had some respite outside of school hours. Their homes provided temporary refuge. For Hannah, and thousands of others, the bullying continued around the clock — via text messages and social media such as Facebook. But the advent of the internet and smart phones has added a whole new dimension to traditional school bullying.


Getting ready for school also became difficult. There were many days when Hannah had nauseas feelings in her stomach that made her feel unwell. Her mental state of mind was at its worst and she was terrified walking to and from school each day.


Hannah was in her final year of secondary school completing year 12 studies but in September of 2012 she just couldn’t take anymore. Hannah spoke to her mum explaining how she was feeling. She didn’t feel right and wanted to seek help.


” I can't this anymore and I don't want to hurt myself or do anything inappropriate” Hannah told her mum.


After discussing everything Hannah was diagnosed with severe depression and anxiety and had ongoing counselling. The support and advice with counselling was good and it helped Hannah a little but when she went back to school the bullying continued.


The final straw was a text in the middle of the night from a so-called friend saying that Hannah was about to commit suicide. Hannah had not texted anyone and was not suicidal, but that didn't stop the police and her parents getting involved. After that incident, Hannah realised that something had to change. She had suffered enough and needed to get away from all the bullies. She went home and locked herself in her bedroom and decided to write a speech on bullying and how it affected her.


One day Hannah found the courage to read her speech at school assembly in front of 600 students at Western Port Secondary College. Hannah was terrified and nervous but was determined to share her thoughts about everything she had been through for most of her school years. When she finished reading her speech Hannah felt proud, strong and brave. To Hannahs surprise she had students come speak to her apologising for bullying her. They also complimented Hannah for writing such a good speech.


When year 12 ended Hannah received an award at her Valedictory dinner for ‘Best Bullying Speech.’


These days, Hannah spends her time absorbed with her hobbies, which include swimming, boxing, cooking, diamond art, photography and shopping. She also joined a gym in Mornington where she trains and is provided with the best support from trainers Max and Josh. Hannah also works alongside her support worker, Tessa and together their focus is on implementing a disability program for those in need. Watch this space!

There are also the pets to look after. “I have two dogs, birds and fish and they make me very happy” says Hannah


Hannah continues to live in Hastings and enjoys living in her community. She still sees some of the kids that bullied her but doesn’t mind bumping into them now days.

Hannah also recently launched EMPOWER YOU and invites anyone who has been bullied to join her platform. She has her sight set on creating a safe space that is judgement free where you can speak your truth and be supported.


In conclusion Hannah speaks glowingly of her family who have always stood by her, and of the wonderful, fulfilling bright future she now sees ahead of her.


“After all,” said Hannah “I am a survivor.


My hope is that when you’re looking at yourself in the

‘The Daily Mirror’





To get in touch with Cathy email 


'The Daily Mirror' acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as the Traditional Custodians of the land and acknowledges and pays respect to their Elders, past and present.


Follow Hannah and get involved at  EMPOWER YOU 





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