Violence in Australian schools continues to rise

We have all seen the headlines. Violence in Australian schools is on the rise. Whether it’s kids fighting with other kids, or students assaulting teachers and staff, the problem is growing – and it’s growing rapidly.

Here are some shocking statistics:

  • 27% of students aged four to nine are bullied at least every few weeks
  • In 87% of these cases, onlookers are present yet do nothing
  • Bullying is most prevalent around ages five to eight
  • Queensland schools have experienced a constant increase in violence of over 100% since 2008
  • Over 1000 violent acts against students and teachers are committed each year in our school system

Of course, these statistics still do not tell the whole story. The problem becomes more extensive when we consider the impact on not just the families of the victims, but the families of the perpetrators as well. Violence in schools is a problem that is having an effect on our society as a whole, and if left unchecked it could do long-lasting harm.

Studies show that more and more children are coming to school with weapons more than ever before. A startling tendency for children to carry knives is being increasingly scrutinized as the rates of stabbings soar. Is the solution simply to put up metal detectors, or is this problem better tackled in another way?

John Toumbourou, the Deakin University Chair of Health Psychology, says he’s sure that metal detectors will not be the most effective way of stopping the assaults.

“You need to get the environment so that young people are aware of how to relate to one another and there’s not alcohol in the background causing unnecessary violent events. In Australia, alcohol use is high amongst adolescents,” he says.

The violence in our school system must be dealt with sooner rather than later. As the assault rates and bullying continue to draw headlines in newspapers across the country, it is imperative that we work toward a solution that gets to the heart of the problem, quickly.