MILLIONS of teenagers live in fear that they will become victims of crime — a fear that is affecting their well-being and mental health, the latest Good Childhood report published by the Children’s Society suggests.
The report found that one third of teenage girls feared being stalked by a stranger, and one in four boys worries that they could be assaulted.
Two in five of teenagers worried about anti-social behaviour and other crimes, the report found.
Close second to the fear of becoming a victim of crime was the fear and stress experienced by 2.1 million teenagers whose parents were struggling to pay household bills.
Teenagers’ happiness is now at its lowest levels since 2010, and more than one million children experience at least seven serious problems in their lives — such as emotional neglect, having a parent with a serious illness, or the threat of homelessness.
More than half have experienced at least three hardships in the past five years, making them unhappier. Teenagers who have experienced seven or more serious issues in their lives are ten times more likely to be unhappy than those who have experienced none.
Girls are more likely than boys to be unhappy with their lives as a whole, and are less happy particularly over factors such as appearance and friendships.
The Bishop of Gloucester, the Rt Revd Rachel Treweek, has campaigned on children’s well-being as part of her #liedentity campaign, which focuses on issues of body image (Comment, 5 May). She said that she was “shocked and saddened” by the latest findings of the report.
The Children’s Society is calling on the Government to address urgently the funding shortfall in children’s services, which is predicted to reach £2 billion by 2020.
This is the sixth annual Good Childhood report to be carried out by the Children’s Society in partnership with researchers from the University of York. The report findings are based on surveys and interviews with 3000 ten- to 17-year-olds.