n Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology - Predisposition to, reasons for and measures against peer victimisation in schools

Volume 17, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1012-8093



The aim of this survey was to investigate the perceptions of respondents regarding learners with a disposition to bully, the main reasons for peer victimisation and measures against bullying.

The non-probability sample consisted of 1873 learners from nine primary, eight secondary schools and two special schools in District 4, Tshwane South. The survey was conducted in the first term of 2003.
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. When asked, "Have you ever felt like hurting or upsetting another learner?", a substantial percentage (64,8%) indicated that they had felt like hurting or upsetting another learner either "sometimes" (54,6%) or "often" (6,8%).
More than 40,0 percent (43,6%) of the learners had been a member of a group who had bullied another child during 2002. Nearly one fifth (24,2%) of the sample group admitted to having bullied a learner as part of a group. More than one third (38, 4%) of the learners appeared to have bullied another learner on their own during 2002.
The three most common reasons learners cited for bullying others were to show how tough they were (show off) (63,0%), for fun (54,6%), and to get even (retaliation) (52,4%). An overwhelming majority of the respondents believed that the following would be sound measures against peer victimisation :
  1. Teachers should try to stop bullying (86,8%).
  2. Learners and teachers should cooperate to stop peer victimisation (83,8%).
  3. Teachers and learners should be concerned enough to stop bullying in their schools (82,5%).
The group as a whole reacted positively to the question, "Do you think learners themselves should help to stop bullying?" (78,8%). Fewer pupils supported personal involvement in measures against bullying.

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