HBSC home




Publications: Data Visualisations

Frequent bullying victimisation

Victims of bullying are likely to experience a range of problems, such as depression and anxiety which can lead to self-harm and suicide in extreme cases. Bully victims are more likely to become socially withdrawn and experience school difficulties such as refusal to attend, underachievement and dropout.

Being bullied is associated with loneliness and a reduced ability to make friends, poor school perceptions, psychosomatic symptoms and higher levels of substance use. The effects are acute and may persist into later life, with research showing that victims of bullying at school are at increased risk of poor health and depression in adulthood.

Policy recommendations

The World Health Organization’s Global status report on violence prevention (2014) offers recommendations for violence prevention efforts. These underline the importance of collaboration between violence prevention stakeholders, pooling their resources to match the burden and severity of the problem. Key national recommendations include:

  • improve data collection to more accurately capture the true extent of the problem

  • establish extensive, evidence based national strategies

  • improve prevention programmes and victim services, ensuring they are evidenced informed

  • identify synergies between violence prevention and other health platforms

  • place more emphasis on outcome evaluation studies

  • evaluate existing violence prevention laws

Methods to reduce bullying at a school level that appear to have merit include:

  • intensive programs

  • parents meetings

  • the use of firm disciplinary methods

  • improved playground supervision

Related publications