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A 2005 study by the Centre for Justice and Crime Prevention (CJCP) highlighted the school environment as the most common site of criminal victimisation for young people between the ages of 12 and 22 years.1 Violence within schools is not a new social problem but is emerging as a cause for serious concern given the recent spate of attacks within South African schools that have claimed the lives of both pupils and educators. These attacks indicate that school violence has now moved beyond mere bullying to become a form of victimisation with a more serious and violent nature.
The purpose of this paper therefore is to present a brief synopsis of the risk factors that increase the vulnerability of children and youths to violence within their school environments. Focus will be specifically on contextual risk factors rather than those stemming from the individual and his or her socio-economic status.