Over two million crimes against children

Bookmark and Share

24 per cent children in England and Wales have been victims of violence, robbery or theft, according to Home Office analysis.

The British Crime Survey figures said up to 2.2m crimes took place against under 16s, putting them at greater risk than adults. In fact, youngsters are three times more likely to be victims of violence than adults - and most of the attacks are carried out by other children.

The pilot project interviewed 3,700 children in their homes in 2009 as part of the rolling British Crime Survey (BCS). The study focused on theft and violence and did not include sexual abuse, cyber bullying or other crimes that would be captured in the main BCS interview of adults.

It found that only 11% told police about a crime, compared to 37% of adults. A child is a victim of a violent attack every 20 seconds. 1,719,000 under-16s were assaulted last year.

Boys were twice as likely to be victims as girls and sick and disabled children were more likely to be victimised. Nearly four in ten adults tell the police if they are the victim of a crime, but reporting rates show just 11 per cent of children do the same.

John Flatley, the report's editor, said: "This research fills an important gap in the evidence base that we did not have before. It quantifies what we suspected, but we did not have the numbers to show it.

"We expected that children would have higher levels of victimisation than adults and that most of it would be dominated by low level violence and that the serious stuff is relatively rare."

Police Minister Nick Herbert said: "These new figures reinforce our longstanding belief that, to date, crime measures have offered either a partial or confused picture about the level of offending.

"We need a commonsense approach that recognises young people's experiences so that we don't criminalise children by failing to properly distinguish between playground spats and serious crime."

The report came as Deputy PM Nick Clegg launched a new children and families taskforce.

Meanwhile, Mr Clegg revealed one in five kids are living in poverty. He said: "Two million live in poor housing - crowded rooms, squalid conditions, dangerous buildings."

Statistics indicate that the poorest children grow up to die seven years before the richest.

The report finds that the total number of crimes, including those against adults, is now more than 12million. Until now, the British Crime Survey excluded all offences committed against ten to 15-year-olds.

Crime statistics breakdown:

  • Up to a quarter of children in England and Wales have been victims of crime.
  • 2.2m crimes of theft and violence took place against under 16s.
  • Just 6% of children perceived themselves to be victims of crime.
  • Crimes excluding childish behaviour: 1,055,000 incidents
  • Crimes excluding school incidents: 643,000 incidents
  • Incidents which child classes as crime: 404,000 incidents

Other topics included in the report include:

  • experiences of crime - property and personal;
  • attitudes to the Criminal Justice System, including the police and the courts;
  • worries, fears about crime
  • security, including neighbourhood watch, home and vehicle security measures
  • violence at work
  • perceptions of equality and prejudice
  • volunteering and community activity
  • experience of household fires
  • illegal drug use
  • sexual victimisation

More In Leadership Briefing.

School Leadership Today