Being bullied during your childhood years can have a profound impact on a person’s psychological development, the effects of which can last well into adulthood. In fact, recent studies have shown that people who are bullied as children are less likely to be as mentally healthy as people who were not bullied. In the following paragraphs we’ll examine the credibility of this defense and whether it can actually be used in court successfully:

Does Childhood Bullying Have Long-term Effects?

The long-term effects of childhood bullying include a higher risk for anxiety and depression, as well as problems interacting with other people and maintaining a normal social life. Furthermore, childhood bullying affects not only the victim of the bullying, but the bully as well, with both being more prone to hostility and substance abuse during their adult years. As such, the effects of childhood bullying are sometimes used as a criminal defense in the court of law, with the argument being that the criminal’s behavior was directly a result of a mental health issue they developed due to their experience with being bullied as a child. California criminal attorneys like You Are Innocent regularly deal with cases that involve the defense being mounted around the defendant’s mental health history, but sufficient proof will be needed to show that you are innocent, or that you were acting under the influence of a mental disorder that was directly caused by a history of childhood bullying.

Can the Effects of Childhood Bullying Result in Criminal Behavior as an Adult?

Studies have not only shown that people who were bullied as children have a higher risk of developing mental health issues, they are also more likely to commit a crime in adulthood. Suppressed emotions and deep-rooted memories can lead to aggression and anger problems that manifest in issues with domestic violence, assault, vandalism, theft, and similar impulse-based crimes. In addition, someone who was bullied extensively as a kid may consider themselves to be socially awkward, which could make it more difficult for them to obtain and retain employment as an adult. Thus, with these facts in consideration, most experts would agree that it is indeed possible for childhood bullying to result in criminal tendencies during adulthood.


Is Childhood Bullying a Believable Defense Though?

Everyone can’t use the excuse that they were bullied as a child and that’s why they assaulted their neighbor or broke into someone’s house. If that were the case, there would be a lot more people trying to use this as their primary defense. In general, this is a defense that should only be used by someone who can provide irrefutable evidence that they were excessively bullied as a child on a long-term basis. This proof may come in the form of reports from expert witnesses like pediatric psychiatrists, teachers, or school guidance counselors, or statements from the defendant’s family or friends who witnessed the bullying. It may also need to be shown that the adult was previously diagnosed with some sort of mental health issue that was attributed to the bullying before they committed the crime they’re being charged with.

Asking Yourself Whether Bullying Really Caused the Crime

In order to use childhood bullying as a criminal defense as an adult, you should be honest with yourself about whether the crime you committed was really brought about by tendencies that you developed due to being bullied as a child. In closing, to determine whether childhood bullying would be an ideal defense in your situation, try viewing your case from the perspective of a juror and ask yourself whether you would believe someone if they used this defense in conjunction with all the other evidence you’re able to provide.  If you have enough proof that you were bullied excessively and have been diagnosed with related metal health issues, then this may be a defense worth pursuing.

6 thoughts on “Is Being Bullied as a Kid a Criminal Defense as an Adult?

  1. I got bullied all through elementary school, and committed some crimes as a teen. Mostly just a little shoplifting, like mascara and earrings, cheap things I liked but not enough to give up my practically nonexistent allowance for. I’d never considered that being bullied as a kid might have made me more likely to do these things.

  2. I’ve been going to counseling for several years, and I’m kind of amazed at how many things can be traced back to when I was bullied as a kid. It led to my self esteem problems, abusive relationships, a drinking problem, and anxiety issues that require medication. I wouldn’t have believed that before I went to counseling, but now I actually do think it may be a legitimate social factor behind crimes. Not just for crimes like mass shootings in high schools.

  3. I agree that chiledhood bullying has longterm effects. I think that it can especially affect self esteem. I think without proper self esteem, people have a hard time finding jobs in the workplace.

  4. Hello Erica Buteau,

    This very impressive post.
    Bullying is a serious matter of concern regarding young children. They often are being bullied,
    in the school by their senior mates and often around the home, while getting interacted by the
    social people they live by.

    Sometimes, excessive bullying too leads in the deaths of the victim.

    Sometimes when a kid was small and he was being bullied by his seniors,
    he takes it as a cycle of reactions and he same does with their juniors.

    Seriously I didn’t knew that, if a child bully some one and could be easily escaped with the fact
    that he was being bullied during his childhood period.
    That’s something sound unfair to me. Means if he was being bullied and just to take revenge he could
    spoil out some ones other life.
    And moreover if he would having a proof of witnesses that proves, the defendant was bullied at his
    time could not be counted as a offence.

    The people and law should reconsider this jurisdiction, and declare this act as a punishable act,
    whether its done by a child or an adult.

    Thank you for sharing this post.
    Shantanu sinha

  5. One common form of Adult Cyber-Bullying is directed towards “actors” on REALITY television. Many people believe that reality tv is real – but the truth is, it’s NOT. These actors are getting paid to appear on the show and then are coached by the producers to enhance the drama of their episodes.

    The worst part is the open talk forums/blogs in which the television network’s vehemently ALLOW the viewers to openly and ANONYMOUSLY voice their opinions and comments about any particular actor.
    There is already an organization that deals exclusively with Adult Cyber-bullying.There are also sections [on both websites] on what to do. Well worth the read.

  6. Hii,
    Great article,in order to get right information about child’s behaviour,and notice that how they are exploring the things in front of their elders.Bulling is really a very concerning topic in today’s era.So,always takes care of your children and tell them good things.

    Thanks,for sharing valuable information with us.

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