Bullying and Fear of Crime amongst children and young people
Bullying, be it physical or psychological (for instance, using social media) can have a serious detrimental effect on a child's health and wellbeing. This, in turn can adversely affect attainment in school and consequently opportunities for higher education or employment later in life.
Crime affecting children and young people is low but fear of crime and fear for personal safety can have a disproportionate impact on lifestyle and quality of life.
These are some of the subjects covered in the Somerset Children and Young People Survey (SCYPS), conducted in Spring 2016. In conjunction with teachers across the county, the survey was commissioned from the Schools Health Education Unit (SHEU) by the Somerset Health and Wellbeing in Learning Programme as a way of collecting robust information about young people’s lifestyles.
- More than two in five (41%) Year 6 pupils (aged 10-11) said they felt afraid of going to school at least 'sometimes' because of bullying. The proportion declines with age (see Chart 1) .
- More than one in four primary and secondary pupils said they had been bullied at or near school or college in the past year (see Chart 1)
- Girls were more likely than boys to have been bullied, contrary to what was reported in the TellUs 4 survey of 2009.
- However, boys were more likely than girls to admit having deliberately upset or hurt someone else at school.
- There is a strong link between experiences of bullying and self-esteem. However, it's not clear whether bullying leads to lowered self-esteem
- or whether low self-esteem makes a child more likely to be bullied. Also another factor may be the cause.
- Most pupils thought their school took bullying seriously but one in six secondary pupils thought their school dealt with bullying 'badly'
- Compared with 2014, fewer Primary and Secondary pupils have been bullied because of the way they look
- Girls were more likely than boys to be targets of teasing, name calling and 'nasty things written about them online'
- Boys were more likely than girls to have been physically pushed, hit or threatened for no reason
- 9% of FE/6th form students had experienced sexual harassment, and 36% had experienced verbal abuse.
- Amongst Year 10 pupils (aged 14-15) young carers, pupils with Special Educational Needs and those with long-term illnesses/conditions were more likely than the average to have been bullied.
- At both Primary and Secondary levels, 93% of pupils had been told how to stay safe online, mainly at school.
- However, only 62% of Year 10 pupils say they always follow Internet safety advice. Girls are more likely than boys to do so.
- The reporting of positive behaviours and experiences is generally associated with higher levels of adherence to Internet safety advice. For example, of those who had taken drugs, only 43% said they always follow internet safety advice.
- Almost 1 in 3 Secondary girls and 1 in 5 boys have received a nasty or scary chat message which upset them.
- One in seven Primary pupils said they had sent a chat message or posted a comment which they later wished they had not written.
- 28% in 2016 said that they chat online to other people they don’t know in real life, compared with 22% who said this in 2014.
- 1 in 5 Secondary girls and 1 in 7 boys responded that someone they don’t know in person has asked to meet with them; 10% of girls said this person was, as far as they knew, quite a bit older than them and 4% said they did actually meet up with them.
- 28% of Secondary girls said that someone online who they didn’t know has asked to see pictures of them and 3% had actually sent sexual pictures of themselves to someone they don’t know.
- Just over half (52%) of Secondary pupils (2 in 3 girls) responded that they had blocked someone because of something upsetting that happened online and 2% had reported something to the Child Exploitation and Online Protection centre (CEOP).
Crime / Feeling Safe
- Almost 1 in 3 (30%) of primary school pupils (Years 4-6) worry about crime ‘quite a lot’ or ‘a lot’, second only to worries about SATs/tests.
- Only half (49%) of Secondary girls (Years 8 and 10) rate their safety when going out after dark as ‘good’ or ‘very good’, compared with 59% of boys.
| In the year to August 2015, there were 2,186 child victims of crime recorded by Avon and Somerset Constabulary in Somerset, up from 2,032 crimes in the previous twelve months (up 7.6%).
Other recent research
- UK Youth Parliament Advisory Group (April 2013): The group believe that children and young people need help to explore their own ability to deal with bullying. This could be effective through peer projects, but also needs to be facilitated through school and by parents/carers as well as having information to signpost them that is easily accessible and up to date. Parents and carers need strategies and information to help them support their children appropriately. The majority of UKYPAG members would struggle to find someone to talk to/confide in if they felt vulnerable. Many said they felt their parents would not understand or would curb their freedom by being over-protective. Most reported feeling safe at home. “I feel safe in my own local community where you are known and you know others – but really unsafe in other areas”.
- Bridgwater College Survey (October 2012): Bridgwater College’s Induction Survey for new 16-18 year old students revealed that 98% of respondents feel completely safe or mostly safe in college. Less than 1% (7 respondents) reported not feeling safe at all.
- Streetwise Youth Survey (2011): The Avon and Somerset 2011 Youth Survey indicated that two thirds of respondents feel safe in their local area. Increasing police visibility is seen to be the main driver for increasing safety and reducing the risk of victimisation. Suggestions as to what the police could do to stop young people from committing crime included providing youth activities (16%), making young people aware of the consequences of crime (16%), and greater school involvement (14%).
- PoP uP Consultation (2010): 76% feel safe in general, and 67% would be able to get help either through family or teachers/youth workers etc. More street lights and police/PCSOs would make people feel safer. Cars speeding stop children feeling safe. 8% say they worry about bullying or that bullying stops them from achieving.
- Tellus 4 (2009) survey revealed that over half (51%) of those completing the survey said they had been bullied. Bullying was more prevalent for Year 6 students, and for males rather than females.
Children from vulnerable groups:
- Care4me Survey (April 2012): The majority of respondents felt that the place they were living in currently was the right place for them and 90% reported that the care they receive is either good or very good. 85% of those in school/college class their education as being either good or very good. 90% reported feeling either very safe or fairly safe, and 83% have more than one person they could tell if they were being harmed. The majority feel they can get in touch with their Social Worker easily or fairly easily. Areas for development included strengthening awareness of Children in Care Council and Pledge (62% had never heard of the CiC Council and 72% didn’t know about the Pledge); improving placement choice; preparing young people better for independence and ensuring young people’s opinions make a difference to how they are looked after.
- Aftercare Survey (April 2012): Although there was a low response rate to this survey, the vast majority of respondents were in education, training or employment. All agreed that the place they were living was the right place for them and all felt either very safe or fairly safe. Areas for development included preparing young people better for leaving care, and providing more Council support to care leavers.
- Traveller communities (2010): Two films made/supported by Somerset’s Traveller Education Service (‘The Way I Am’ and one of the 3 films included on the 2010 First Light DVD ‘Home: three stories from Somerset Young People’) highlight concerns about racial incidents and perceived inconsistencies in response to these. There is some evidence that Travellers can end up being excluded from schools due to fighting back following racial incidents.
The number of racial incidents reported to the Local Authority (LA) in Somerset increased sharply between 2004-2005 and 2009-2010 in conjunction with a growing ethnic minority population in Somerset schools. While current levels remain well below the peak, Somerset data suggests there has been a 20% rise in the number of racial incidents reported to the LA by schools between the 2012/13 and 2013/14 academic years.
Racial Incidents reported to the Local Authority by Schools in Somerset
|No of incidents
Source: Somerset County Council
The majority of incidents relate to derogatory name calling. National research suggests that only a small proportion of incidents are formally reported, for a variety of factors; therefore data should be viewed with some caution.
Local data suggests that both the victims and offenders are more likely to be male.
For ‘White British’ children and young people, the risk of being a target of a racial incident is very low, but for certain groups, particularly those from Black or South Asian backgrounds, the risk is much higher.
In the year to August 2015, Avon and Somerset Constabulary recorded 18 child victims of race hate crimes, compared with 24 in the previous twelve months.