The Children’s Commissioner has become concerned at the level of fear being picked up from children. Both safety when out in public and a general sense of social disorder have consistently been raised as major worries.
Over time children in England have become less likely to be able to go out independently. If we want a society where children feel safe to explore independently, the fears that they have about doing so need to be understood and addressed.
In order to understand more about when, where and why children feel unsafe, and what could be done to address these fears, the Children’s Commissioner studied seven Sheffield focus groups. Sheffield was chosen because it has average levels of crime, poverty and educational provision for England.
Many of the children in the focus groups said that they didn’t feel safe going out and making use of public space, which of course affects their ability to play and enjoy a normal childhood. There were particularly worrying reports about girls facing sexual harassment.