Should Bullying be Considered a Criminal Offense – Yes

Bullying takes many forms. It can be physical attacks, emotional abuse, passive aggressive behaviors, and cyberbullying. In each case, bullying is an ongoing attack on another, generally weaker or lower ranking, person’s body, emotional well-being, and even their professional reputation. Bullying causes permanent physical, emotional, and social damage, which is why bullying should be regarded as a criminal offense.

What is bullying?

While bullying is more prevalent among teens, bullies are people of all ages who take pleasure in causing pain, fearfulness, and distress in others, using verbal, virtual, and physical attacks, and intentional sabotage. This antisocial behavior has many causes, but the results are nearly always devastating to the victims’ long term ability to interact with society in a positive way. It has also been shown that those who witness bullying are negatively affected.

Consequences of victimization

Research has clearly demonstrated that victims of ongoing bullying often experience emotional, mental, and physical health problems that can last a lifetime. Being bullied at school often makes students drop out, leading to economic consequences. Being victimized by a bully erodes a person’s self esteem and confidence, interfering with every aspect of their life. Demoralized and distracted, victims are unable to fulfill their academic, professional, or personal lives

Social impact of bullying

Unchecked bullying has led to mass murders, as in the case of school shootings, and the suicide of victims. Even without reaching these extremes, victims are often unable to perform academically or at work, and relationships suffer, as well. The permanent scars that result from bullying interferes with a person’s happiness and sense of security, while robbing society of what they would have contributed had the bullying not occurred.

Economic costs of bullying

Bullying at the workplace leads to high turnover rates, reduced productivity, and the loss of innovation as employees spend more thought energy on self preservation or the next attack. The stress caused by bullying also leads to medical problems, such as insomnia, digestive complications, depression, and anxiety attacks, all of which reduce the productiveness of a business. The ripple effect of this lost potential is estimated to cost the American economy $90 million each year.

What makes bullying a crime?

Crimes are offenses against society as a whole, rather than civil cases, which are between individuals. Bullying should be recognized as a crime because of the long term harm done to victims, their family and friends, and the long term loss to society that the victim may have provided, had their sense of self worth and personal safety not been damaged by the bully.

The depth and breadth of negative effects that result from bullying provide the proof that it is nothing less than criminal.