n Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology - Bending the neck to the yoke or getting up on one's hind legs? Getting to grips with bullying

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Evidence strongly suggests that being bullied in one's early years, or when such bullying extends into adolescence, is a major cause of personality problems, abuse and other forms of negative behaviour in later years. This includes personal, behavioural, and interpersonal problems. Professionals agree that bullying is rife throughout South Africa. Seemingly it is often the physically smaller, younger, more vulnerable part of the school population that bears the brunt. Furthermore it does not seem as if schools and other institutions have clear guidelines regarding ways in which to deal with the problem, which seems to be embedded in the more deeply rooted problem of violence (and bullying) in society at large.

My current research shows that bullying has a greater impact on victims during all life stages than may have been expected. While bullies show little awareness of the possible long-term damage caused by their deeds, victims (both younger and older) indicate that they suffer greatly as a result, and that the aftereffects of bullying extend well into adulthood. It is hoped that the findings of this research will exert pressure, not only on schools and tertiary institutions, but especially on society at large to eradicate this particular scourge altogether.


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