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Student Victimization by Peers in Elementary Schools: Individual, Teacher-Class, and School-Level Predictors

NCJ Number
Child Abuse & Neglect Volume: 35 Issue: 4 Dated: April 2011 Pages: 273-282
Mona Khoury-Kassabri
Date Published
April 2011
10 pages
This Israeli study identified individual and contextual factors that explain students' victimization by peers among Jewish and Arab students in grades four through six.
The results show that levels of victimization varied significantly among classes and schools; however, the vast majority of variation in students' victimization was related to individual factors, such as fear, physical and emotional victimization by teachers, and gender (boys reported being physically and verbally victimized more often than girls). The only significant difference between Jewish and Arab schools was in verbal victimization, which was reported more often by Jewish students. Levels of victimization were high for all three types of victimization: 69.6 percent of students reported being exposed to at least one form of physical violence during the last month; 74.1 percent reported being verbally victimized; and 66.6 percent reported being indirectly victimized. Students victimized by peers were more likely to be victimized by their teachers and to miss school because of their fear of violence. A total of 120 homeroom teachers and 3,375 students from 47 schools participated in the study. Student reports of all forms of victimization in schools were obtained with a self-report questionnaire adapted from the California School Climate Survey. It includes 17 items on victimization by several types of violent acts. Students could check off one of three categories in describing how many times they were victimized in the last month. Based on the study's findings, interventions to deal with school violence should be targeted to students and school staff. It is important to design and implement a "whole school" approach that includes participation by the entire school community. Intensive individual treatment should be provided for victimized students. Efforts should be made to convince victimized students that there is a support network in the school that cares about their welfare and will take action to ensure they are safe in the school environment. 4 tables and 49 references