Mandy Kloppers

Bullying and crime: is there a connection?

Bullying suggests that the person dishing out the bullying is unhappy and angry on some level. Bullying is a projection of this inner negativity and frustration. So what causes bullying?

Parents who suppress their children too much by not allowing their children to express emotions can lead to an inner tension that can only be released by delivering nastiness to others – specifically those that are easy targets. Other kids at school.

Show  me a bully and more often than not, I will be able to show you a child that is hurting emotionally. Others, who are likely to bully, have to cope with parents who use their own children as ‘punching bags’ to release  their adult stress in life. They scream at their children, do not treat them with any respect and often just view their children as objects to abuse and use as they see fit. They do not acknowledge the rights of their children and cause emotional trauma by criticising their children.

This constant barrage of negativity creates anger and bitterness in some children. So, do children who bully tend to be more likely to commit crime later on?

There are mixed views on this but it does seem there is a correlation between bullying and crime. In 2001, Dr. Nansel and colleagues at NICHD and HRSA conducted a survey that determined the extent of bullying in Schools. A release describing this earlier study has been posted at

“In this study, a strong and consistent relationship between bullying and violent behaviors was observed,” the authors wrote. “This suggests that bullying is likely to occur concurrently with more serious aggressive behavior, and while prevalent, should not be considered a normative aspect of youth development.”

Scandinavian studies found that children (especially boys) who bullied others were particularly likely to be involved in other anti-social behaviour such as shoplifting and drug abuse. The studies also found that this anti-social behaviour often continued into adulthood. Approximately 60% of boys who were described by teachers and peers as being bullies had at least one criminal conviction by the age of 24 compared to 23% of boys who had not been described as bullies. Even more disturbing was the finding that 35-40% of these bullies had 3 or more criminal convictions by this age, compared to 10% of those who had not been described as bullies.


The above studies provide compelling reasons for schools and parents to be firm with bullying but also to look deeper into the causes of bullying. Dysfunctional home life is a major factor in bullying and crime.

Mandy X


Photo by Mitch Lensink on Unsplash