Bullies spot victims who are vulnerable or stick out (because of the colour of their skin, the way they walk, their name, size, religion, spectacles, family, clothes…). Victims are often quiet, silent, passive, anxious, insecure and cautions children with low self-esteem. They have few friends who sometimes even stand up in their defence. They are often connected with their parents who can often (but not always) be described as over-protective.

Victims of peer bullying typically also have:

• Poor social skills (unable to stand up for themselves)

• A lack of confidence and are not inclined to asking for help

• Less teacher and peer support

• A feeling of guilt and they believe they are to blame for what is happening to them

• A wish to fit in no matter how

The victim is most often:

• Newcomer in the class

• Gifted

• Quiet and kind

• The one who has good relationships with teachers

• From lower socio-economic background

• From another ethnic group

• Disabled/with special needs

• From divorced family

• Victim of family violence

Victims often try to hide it from adults because they are afraid they will be considered weak and cowardly, or for fear that it might deteriorate the situation. There are signs which may help recognise/suspect that some child is the victim of peer bullying.

Victims of peer bullying:

• Are afraid to go to and from school

• Change their usual route to school

• Ask their parents to drive them to school

• Refuse to go to school

• Are ‘sick’ in the morning before school, having headache or stomach-ache

• Show declining academic achievement

• Come home with torn clothes or school books

• Come home hungry (their lunch money has been taken away)

• Become withdrawn and have low self-esteem

• Become anxious, tense, stop eating

• Threaten with or attempt a suicide

• Fall asleep weeping, have nightmares

• ‘Lose’ their things and pocket money

• More and more frequently ask for money or start stealing (for the bully)

• Refuse to say what is wrong

• Have bruises, scratches and cuts of unknown origin

• Start intimidating other children

• Become aggressive and depressive

• Become truant

• Give unbelievable excuses for the above mentioned behaviours

• Are alone during school breaks and their friends are not worried

• Are not selected for sports games

• Seek the vicinity of the teacher

• Are insecure and uneasy if they have to come to the board in front of the class

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