Peter K Smith Unit for School and Family Studies Goldsmiths College University of London [email protected] DEFINITION, TYPES AND PREVALENCE OF SCHOOL BULLYING AND VIOLENCE Definitions of violence Definition of bullying Types of violence and bullying
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Definition of bullying
Types of violence and bullying
Main ways of assessing violence and bullying
Some statistics on prevalenceOverview
Encarta dictionary (1999): 1 – the use of physical force to injure somebody or damage something; 2 – the illegal use of unjustified force, or the effect created by the threat of this.
Olweus (1999): Aggressive behaviour where the actor or perpetrator uses his or her own body or an object (including a weapon) to inflict (relatively serious) injury or discomfort upon another individual.
World Health Organisation: The intentional use of physical and psychological force or power, threatened or actual, against oneself, another person, or against a group or community, that either results in or has a high likelihood of resulting in injury, death, psychological harm, mal-development, or deprivation.
Shared features are normally that violence is
(a) harmful or damaging, or at least threatens such harm or damage, and
(b) is intended (accidental damage or hurt done by someone is not usually thought of as violent).
But at least 5 areas of disagreement.
Is violence necessarily physical?
YES, according to Encarta (1) and Olweus.
NO, according to Encarta (2) or WHO.
Probably the most crucial issue. Limiting violence to physical acts makes it more restricted in focus, and perhaps easier to measure (physical acts of violence are probably easier to monitor than verbal or relational violence). It makes violence different from aggression.
However, it clearly excludes other intentional harmful behaviours such as verbal abuse, social exclusion, nasty rumour spreading.
Is violence necessarily against a person?
NO, according to Encarta
YES, according to Olweus, and possibly WHO.
In other words, is vandalism (the malicious or deliberate defacement or destruction of somebody else’s property: Encarta 1999) included as violence?
Does graffitti on the school walls, or intentional damage to school books or equipment, count as violence?
Does violence actually have to be manifested as behaviour that damages someone or something, or is just the threat of this sufficient (as stated in Encarta (2) and WHO)?
An emphasis on threatened as well as actual violence can justify the inclusion of measures such as feelings of insecurity.
Is violence still violence if it is legal?
NO according to Encarta (2), but implicitly YES in other definitions.
If YES, a parent smacking a child is certainly violent.
Maybe too a teacher disciplining a pupil, a policeman restraining a criminal, a judge sentencing an offender.
But if NO, then are we assuming an acceptance of societal-defined ‘legality’? Might this be challenged?
Does violence have to be done by somebody (Olweus), or can it be done more impersonally by a social group or an institution?
The term ‘institutional violence’ suggests the latter; and allows us to consider the possibility of a school inflicting violence on its pupils, because of certain actions or policies.
Generally agreed that bullying is a subset of aggression: namely aggression that involves
Repeated aggressive acts against someone who cannot easily defend themselves:
We need to decide at what level something becomes violence, or bullying.
How serious does the harm have to be? Every day most of us experience minor hurts.
Should violence be limited to describing quite serious blows, or insults or social provocations?
Or can it include what French researchers have called ‘micro-violence’ or ‘incivilities’, relatively minor impolitenesses and infringements of rules (Debarbieux, Blaya and Vidal, 2003)? These might not count as violence by most definitions, but they may still be vital in understanding the origins of more serious school violence, and tackling it.
[these last two being ‘relational’]
[e.g. setting totally unrealistic goals]
By a small group or gang [against one, or against another group or gang]
By a whole class or school [wang-ta and jun-ta in Korean schools]
and beyond the school setting -
By a large group [crowd, mob] [village]
By organisations [Greg Dyke: ‘the BBC was bullied by the Government’]
By a state or nation or alliance of nationsNumbers
Females relatively do more relational kinds of attacks
Frequency tends to increase then decrease with age, but dependent on type and mode
Physical aggression peaks earlier than verbal, relational, institutionalSex differences; Age trends
limited value as adults only aware of a fraction of what is going on
widely used in anonymous questionnaire, e.g. Olweus
maybe most reliable method for class based work
avoid reporting bias but difficult and time-consuming
Other methods: in-depth interviews, focus groups, incident reports, etcASSESSING: How do we find out about violence and bullying in schools?
Besides the assessment method used, and the nature of the sample, we need to consider
Alikasifoglu et al. (2004) survey of over 4,000 students in grades 9 to 11. Self-report questionnaire on experiences of:
Fighting in last 12 months 42%
Injured in physical fight in last 12 months7%
Being bullied at school last term 30%
Bullied others at school last term 19%
Carrying weapon on school grounds last term 8%
Kim et al. (2004) survey of over 1,700 middle school students, grades 7 and 8. Used Korean Peer Nomination Inventory for bullies and victims. Nominated by more than one classmate as:
Perpetrator Boys 17.4% Girls 16.0%
Victim Boys 16.2% Girls 12.0%
Victim-Perpetrator Boys 10.% Girls 7.8%
Not involved Boys 56.3% Girls 64.2%
Nansel et al. (2001) survey of over 15,000 students in grades 6 to 10. Self-report data on frequency of being bullied/ bullying others, in last term.
Morita et al. (2001) – report to Monbusho on cross-national study of bullying (or ijime) using same self-report questionnaire, on 10 to 14 year olds in Japan, England, Netherlands and Norway.
Samples of several thousand in each country.
VICTIM cross-national study
6.5Percentages of pupils who reported being bullied, more than just once or twice in the last 6 months