More than a third of young people 'living in fear of crime'

By Joe Lepper

| 29 August 2017

Fear of being a victim of crime is currently the biggest concern for young people, a major survey has found.

A Children's Society survey has found that 38 per cent of 10- to 17 year-olds were worried about being the victim of crime or anti-social behaviour. Picture: The Children's Society

The Children's Society survey of 3,000 10- to 17 year-olds found that just under four out of 10 (38 per cent) were worried about being the victim of crime or anti-social behaviour.

If applied across the UK population this would equate to 2.2 million teenagers living in fear of crime, the charity said. 

The crime that boys most fear is being assaulted, which was cited by 25 per cent, compared with 19 per cent of girls. Meanwhile, the biggest fear for girls was being followed by a stranger. This was cited by 34 per cent of girls and 19 per cent of boys.

In total, 17 per cent of those surveyed had been a victim of a crime or anti-social behaviour. The survey results form part of The Children's Society's annual Good Childhood Report, which found that 17.8 per cent have been affected by seven or more of 27 disadvantages listed by the charity.

This includes poverty, with 36.1 per cent saying their parents are struggling to pay bills and 29.9 per cent saying debt was a problem in their household.

Of those surveyed, 28.4 per cent said a parent or carer had a mental health problem and 22.2 per cent said a parent or carer had a long-standing illness or disability.

"It is alarming to see that millions of teenagers are contending with a multitude of problems in their lives and suffering as a result," Matthew Reed, chief executive of The Children's Society said.

"Teenagers are coming under pressure in all areas of their lives, whether it's being afraid to walk down their street, worrying about money, or having a parent who's seriously unwell and this is damaging their wellbeing."

The Children's Society is calling on the government to carry out an urgent review into children's services funding to ensure the high proportion of young people facing multiple problems are offered early help.

"Sadly we know many of these teenagers will only get help if they reach crisis point - such as running away from home, or abusing alcohol or drugs," Reed added.

"With a £2bn funding gap for children's services looming, children are increasingly finding themselves with nowhere to turn, putting them at greater risk."

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