n Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology - The victims of bullying in schools

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The data presented in this article originated from a school safety research project which was aimed at the victim in the bullying situation. The study was exploratory and the purpose was to acquire descriptive information from victimised learners to help schools assess the following bullying-related issues:

  1. What is the nature and extent of bullying at school?
  2. How do/did learners react to bullying?
  3. Had victims informed others and what were the outcomes?
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.
A substantial number (53,1%) of the investigation group indicated that they had been bullied during 2002. When asked about the occurrence of bullying, a considerable number (almost 40,0%) of the sample of victims revealed that they were bullied frequently. The findings of the study confirmed that most of the learners were subject to milder forms of bullying such as name-calling (62,5%) and teasing (54,3%). The bully was more often than not reported to be from the same class as the victim.
The victims reported that more than 60,0 percent of peer victimisation occurrences in 2002 were initiated by a male learner (64,5%). In response to the question how the victims generally felt about themselves after the victimisation incident, more or less equal numbers reported being angry (50,8%) or sad and miserable (47,7%).
It was noticed that nearly three quarters (71,1%) of the victims had never stayed away from school because of bullying. A disturbing fact is that almost 10,0 percent of the respondents actually stayed away from school once or twice (7,1%) and more than twice (4,5%) because of peer victimisation.
The findings of the survey show that some of the victims had informed various people, usually their parents (49,8%) and friends (49,1%). More than half (55,1%) of the group indicated that a friend had rendered assistance. Slightly less than 20,0 percent of the respondents had told no one about their having been bullied. Of those who had blown the whistle on the bullies, more than half (54,5%) reported that the situation had improved afterwards.


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