Current Status + Progress
As children grow up, they become more vulnerable to other forms of aggression, including violence inflicted by their peers

Friendship is an important component of a child’s social life at every age.[i] Adolescents in particular often rely more heavily on peers than parents for support and interaction.[ii] As such, exposure to peer violence – including physical attacks, fighting and bullying – increases as children get older. Children can experience such violence directly, as either victims and/or perpetrators, or indirectly, as witnesses. Schools are typically the settings for peer violence since a majority of peer interaction occurs there.

Physical attacks

Many adolescents report being victims of physical attacks
Percentage of students aged 13 to 15 years who reported being physically attacked one or more times in the past 12 months

Notes: Data for Colombia and Ecuador are not national but have been recalculated on the basis of subnational surveys that took place in selected cities in each country. Data for the United Republic of Tanzania are not national but represent only the city of Dar es Salaam.

Source: Global School-based Student Health Surveys (GSHS), 2005-2011.

Fighting

Close to 1 in 3 students between the ages of 13 and 15 worldwide report involvement in one or more physical fights in the past year
Percentage of adolescents aged 13 to 15 years who reported being in a physical fight one or more times during the past 12 months, by country

Notes: This map is stylized and not to scale. It does not reflect a position by UNICEF on the legal status of any country or territory or the delimitation of any frontiers. The dotted line represents approximately the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir agreed upon by India and Pakistan. The final status of Jammu and Kashmir has not yet been agreed upon by the parties. The final boundary between the Sudan and South Sudan has not yet been determined. The final status of the Abyei area has not yet been determined. Data from the HBSC were recalculated as weighted averages for 13- to 15-year-olds to allow for comparison with data collected in the GSHS. Data for China, Colombia, Ecuador, State of Palestine, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and Zimbabwe are not national but have been recalculated on the basis of subnational surveys that took place in selected cities in each country or area. Data for Belgium are a weighted average of the Flemish and French samples. Data for Ghana refer to students in junior high school only. Data for the United Kingdom are a weighted average of the samples in England, Scotland and Wales. Data for the United Republic of Tanzania are not national but represent only the city of Dar es Salaam.

Source: Health Behaviour in School-aged Children Study (HBSC), 2009/2010 and GSHS, 2004-2013.

Bullying

Slightly more than 1 in 3 students between the ages of 13 and 15 worldwide experience bullying on a regular basis
Percentage of adolescents aged 13 to 15 years who reported being bullied at least once in the past couple of months, by country

Notes: This map is stylized and not to scale. It does not reflect a position by UNICEF on the legal status of any country or territory or the delimitation of any frontiers. The dotted line represents approximately the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir agreed upon by India and Pakistan. The final status of Jammu and Kashmir has not yet been agreed upon by the parties. The final boundary between the Sudan and South Sudan has not yet been determined. The final status of the Abyei area has not yet been determined. Data from the HBSC were recalculated as weighted averages for 13- to 15-year-olds to allow for comparison with data collected in the GSHS. Reference periods for the two surveys differ slightly. Data for China, Colombia, Ecuador, State of Palestine, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and Zimbabwe are not national but have been recalculated on the basis of subnational surveys that took place in selected cities in each country or area. Data for Belgium are a weighted average of the Flemish and French samples. Data for Ghana refer to students in junior high school only. Data for the United Kingdom are a weighted average of the samples in England, Scotland and Wales. Data for the United Republic of Tanzania are not national but represent only the city of Dar es Salaam.

Source: HBSC, 2009/2010 and GSHS, 2003-2013.

About 1 in 3 adolescents aged 11 to 15 in Europe and North America admit to having bullied others at school at least once in the past couple of months
Percentage of adolescents aged 11 to 15 years who reported bullying others at school at least once in the past couple of months

Notes: Data for Belgium are a weighted average of the Flemish and French samples. Data for the United Kingdom are a weighted average of the samples in England, Scotland and Wales.

Source: HBSC, 2009/2010.


[i] See, for example: Hartup, W. W., and N. Stevens, ‘Friendships and Adaptation in the Life Course’, Psychological Bulletin, vol. 121, no. 3, 1997, pp. 355-370; Rubin, K. H., et al., ‘Attachment, Friendship, and Psychosocial Functioning in Early Adolescence’, The Journal of Early Adolescence, vol. 24, no. 4, 2004, pp. 326-356.

[ii] See, for example: Perlman, D., ‘Loneliness: A life span, developmental perspective’, in Families and Social Networks, edited by R. M. Milardo, Sage, Newbury Park, 1988, pp. 190-220; Steinberg, L., and S. B. Silverberg, ‘The Vicissitudes of Autonomy in Early Adolescence’, Child Development, vol. 57, no. 4, 1986, pp. 841-851.

 

Methodology

For further details, see: United Nations Children’s Fund, Hidden in Plain Sight: A statistical analysis of violence against children, UNICEF, New York, 2014.