Bullying and Victimization in Rural Schools: Risks, Reasons, and Responses


  • Bonnie J Leadbeater University of Victoria
  • Paweena Sukhawathanakul University of Victoria
  • Annie Smith McCreary Centre Society
  • Rachel S Yeung Thompson University of Victoria
  • Emilie J Gladstone University of Victoria
  • Naomi Sklar University of Victoria


Using multiple waves of large-scale administrative data sets, we compare student and parent reports of serious peer victimization in rural and urban schools in British Columbia (BC), Canada. Higher levels of risk are generally found for rural students relative to their urban counterparts. Rural parents report higher levels of serious peer victimization, while both urban and rural parents do not differ in their perceptions of school safety. Data from focus groups conducted with rural Ontario school and youth-serving agency staff, in addition to interviews with BC school staff, are used to interpret these findings. We also use the qualitative data to illuminate unique challenges and opportunities for accessing and implementing bullying prevention programs in rural schools. Keywords: mental health promotion; school-based programs; rural urban differences; access to servicesdifferences; access to services