How Do You Know When Your Student Or Child Is Being Victimized and How Can You Help (page 2)

By and — Bullying Special Edition Contributor
Updated on Feb 11, 2009

Responding To Signs Of Victimization

Clearly, verification that one’s child or student is being victimized is most strongly corroborated by witnessing it oneself. The testimony of the child or peers can also be useful. However, youth are often reluctant to discuss victimization experiences because they are embarrassed to be a victim, or to have failed to act on behalf of a victim. Further, youth often fear that adults will not act to protect them or may even exacerbate the situation. Therefore, it is critical that teachers and parents be vigilant in their attempts to identify signs of victimization rather than presuming that victimized youth will come forward.

Intervention Principals For Parents And School Personnel

We conclude with guiding intervention principles for parents and school personnel (3)

  • Once adults manage to get youth to open up about victimization experiences, they must ensure that the trust implicit in such disclosures is not violated. In other words, adults must listen, give support and empathy, and avoid blame.
  • Parents and teachers must ensure that children are receiving appropriate care from school-based health care personnel. Such care should involve reducing or eliminating violence exposure and related symptoms.
  • Adults should avoid aggressive, intimidating, and abusive behaviors, but, rather, model social and emotional competencies in the classroom and home settings that we would like to see reflected by our youth.
  • Given the pervasiveness of school victimization, school-wide interventions that target aggressors and victims with a focus on the development of social-emotional competencies in an effort to prevent future difficulties are indicated. Such interventions must also address students who bare witness to violence (1).


  1. Flannery, D. J.,Wester, K. L., & Singer, M. I. (2004). Impact of exposure to violence in school on child and adolescent mental health and behavior. Journal of Community Psychology, 32, 559-573.
  2. Fine, M., Freudenberg, N., Payne, Y., Perkins, T., Smith, K., & Wanzer, K. (2003). “Anything Can Happen With Police Around”: Urban Youth Evaluate Strategies of Surveillance in Public Places. Journal of Social Issues, 59, 1, 141-158.
  3. Card, N. A., Isaacs, J., & Hodges, E. V. E. (2007). Correlates of School Victimization: Implications for Prevention and Intervention. In J. E. Zins, M. J. Elias, & C. A. Maher (Eds.), Bullying, Peer Harassment, and Victimization in the Schools: The Next Generation of Prevention (pp. 339-356). New York: The Haworth Press, Inc.
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