n Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology - The observation of bullying in schools by learners

Volume 17, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1012-8093



Peer victimisation, more commonly referred to as bullying, comprises of intentional and repeated acts, words, or other hurtful behaviour and/or systematic harassment within the school context where it is directed by children against each other. This phenomenon seems to coincide with a general increase in school violence as well as more serious incidents of violence and is, therefore, a cause for concern.

This article explores the experiences of safety and happiness (quality of life) of a non-probability sampled research population of public school learners in Tshwane South. The participants also shared their observations and experiences of bullying with respect to the frequency, nature and location where bullying occurred, as well as the characteristics of bullies.
The findings of this study confirmed that bullying in the delimited research area is indeed a reality in the daily lives of the majority of the research participants. While most respondents observed mainly milder forms of peer victimisation on a frequent basis, nearly 18% reported more serious forms of victimisation (threatened with harm), followed by a further 26% respondents who observed physical bullying on a daily basis.
Furthermore, the research findings raise questions about the general feelings of safety and happiness of a significant proportion of the research group while attending their schools. Although not consistently and not without a certain tension between them, variables such as gender, age and population group emerged as critical factors in these experiences and as part of the social context and its influence in the lives of the participants.

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