Victimization in Schools

Despite how safe you might believe your child’s school to be, there is research that suggest that school violence percentages are high and continue to rise. Studies have shown that about 45% of students admit to being victimized by one of their peers while the other percentage has witnessed peer victimization. What troubles some is the idea that school staff is either aware of the peer victimization, or they are not paying attention as this behavior happens. This article will discuss the impact that victimization has on schools and how to help children who have become victims.

Understanding Victimization

Victimization is when someone is involuntary, exposed to acts of violence that can increase feelings of vulnerability and violate personal safety. This means that a person does not have to directly be attacked, but can also have witnessed someone else being attacked and be defined as victimized. Today, school age children engage in all forms of victimization including threats, physical or verbal harassment, fights, rape, and much more.

Warning Signs of Victimization

Whether you’re a parent or a teacher, it is very important that you’re able to recognize the signs of someone who has been victimized. In most cases, children who have been victimized will not openly express this to an adult. Some of the most common signs of a child that has been victimized personally are anxiety, depression, lack of confidence, substance abuse, problems in school, aggression, and concern for their safety. Other signs you might pay attention to are:

  • Students not getting enough sleep
  • Constant complaints of being sick
  • Socially closed off from others
  • Does not participate in outdoor play
  • Always showing bruises and damaged property

Reaching Out to a Victimized Youth

It may be very hard for you to get the child to say that they have been victimized by their peers. Generally, teachers and parents find out by witnessing it themselves or hearing it from other students. It is important to approach the child very delicately as their feeling of safety is gone. You need to let them know that you care about them and get them the proper help. It is also important that you have strict rules in place for children who victimize their peers. This will assure the students that the school is a safe environment and that aggressive behavior will not be tolerated.

Every day there is a child being victimized by a peer in their school. As parents and educators it is essential to talk to your children. Explain to them the dangers or victimization, and commit to keeping kids safe every day.

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