n Child Abuse Research in South Africa - Bullying in schools : an exploratory study

Volume 5, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1562-1383



In the present research seven out of ten respondents reported that learners were bullied every day (41.7%) or once or twice a week (29.5%). Most learners observed milder forms of bullying on a regular basis. The most common location for bullying reported by the sample as a whole was the playground (29.8% daily) with the main role players in incidents of bullying being a boy operating alone (60.1%) or groups of boys (60.2%). A substantial proportion of the sample (53.1%) indicated that they had been bullied during 2002, with more than 60% of bullying incidents (64.5%) being initiated by a male learner. With respect to how learners felt after an incident of bullying, more or less equal numbers reported being angry (50.8%) or sad and miserable (47.7%). A disturbing fact is that almost 10% of respondents actually stayed away from school once or twice (7.1%) or more than twice (4.5%) because of peer victimisation. The survey findings indicate that a significant proportion of victims had informed someone else about the incident, with this person normally being a parent (49.8%) or a friend (49.1%). More than half (55.1%) of the group indicated that a friend had rendered assistance in the aftermath of bullying. Nearly half (43.1%) the respondents believed that they were "as able" (27.9%) or "more able" (16.9%) than other learners to bully others if they wanted to. The three most common reasons learners cited for bullying others were to "show how tough they were" (63.0%), for "fun" (54.6%), and "to get even" (52.4%).

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