Authors: Joanna Węgrzynowska, Agnieszka Milczarek

  Some children easily become the victims of violence, some don't. Are there any particular qualities, which influence it? It is not true that the reasons for violence are for example being fat, having a certain colour of hair, wearing glasses or being a class maths champion. These children are certainly more exposed to the aggressive behaviour of others, but if they are able to withstand it the violence is halted early. It is rather inner qualities and behaviour that "seal the child's fate" and trigger the violence.

There are two kinds of victim children: passive victims and provoking victims.

Characteristics of the passive victim:    
  • is sensible and shy
  • is not trusting of others
  • has difficulties with peer group relationships
  • is fearful and uncertain
  • is not able to defend him or her. If attacked cries, runs away, withdraws
  • has low self-esteem, not able to make an adequate assessment of the situation
  • feels lonely and friendless
  • often does not have any close friends
  • has negative attitude towards violence
  • is sometimes physically weak (concerns mainly boys)
  • often has better contact with adults than with peers
  • possibly has closer (than average) relation to parents, particularly to the mother (this closeness often means overprotection)
Characteristics of a provoking victim:    
  • has problems with concentration and focusing;
  • is distinctly nervous and uneasy, often overactive;
  • throws their schoolmates into confusion, chaos;
  • creates an atmosphere of tension and annoyance;
  • displays moods swings, which are often the source of conflicts with schoolmates;
  • is often considered by the rest of a class as provocative and thus brings the negative reactions of others;
But remember anyway:
    The child is not guilty of becoming a victim of violence.
    All of us have right to be sensitive, fragile, vulnerable.
    Nobody has right to act violently against such people.
Pupils who have experienced violence seldom inform adults about it. They are usually afraid of their aggressors and don't show their distress. They don't believe they can get any help. In such a case, the teacher's focus on the behaviour and attitudes of pupils is essential.

Some hints to help in recognising a victimised person in class.    
Children who became victims usually:
  • are called names, ridiculed, forced to do things for others;
  • respond by crying or running away from arguments, provocation and fights;
  • look for their things, which have been hidden or damaged by their aggressors;
  • have bruises, damaged or dirty clothes (if asked they often won't say what has happened);
  • are usually alone or near an adult at break time;
  • are often omitted or chosen last for group work or sports teams;
  • look unhappy;
  • have difficulties speaking in the class forum;
  • get worse in their lessons;
  • regard themselves as "inferior", avoid or resign from relationships;
  • are ashamed that they can not stand up for themselves; breakdown;
  • are isolated; lose trust in others;
  • sometimes have no close friends
  • try to avoid school. In the morning they may complain of headaches, stomach-aches; have no appetite;
  • are often late to school;
  • return home slowly, often taking the longest route.
The experience of being a victim of violence may significantly influence the future life of a child. Thus it is crucial that tutors help them to leave this painful experience behind them.
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