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By Kamini Padayachee
Bullying at schools may lead to children being involved in excessive violence in later life.
This is according to a study on youth violence conducted by the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation's David Bruce and non-governmental organisation Volunteer and Service Enquiry in Southern Africa.
Commissioned by the Southern African Trust, it found that school violence was a worrying trend in South Africa, Swaziland and Mozambique.
It said a survey in South African schools had found that the majority of high school victims of physical abuse had been assaulted by fellow pupils and more than one in 10 primary school pupils surveyed reported that they had been teased, taunted or made to feel ashamed at school.
Young girls experienced slightly higher levels of assault and robbery at primary school than did boys, while boys experienced the highest levels of victimisation in terms of "forced sexual behaviour".
High school pupils experienced lower levels of assault than did primary school pupils, but experienced higher levels of robbery and sexual assault.
The study said that victims and perpetrators could be led into believing that violence is acceptable because bullying is often sanctioned by parents and teachers.
"Bullying could thus lay the groundwork for later involvement in violence, the study suggested.