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 2018. 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.
- Two in five (40%) 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.
- More than one in four primary and secondary pupils said they had been bullied at or near school or college in the past year.
- Girls were more likely than boys to have been bullied
- However, boys were more likely than girls to admit having deliberately upset or hurt someone else at school.
- Most pupils thought their school took bullying seriously but 12% of primary pupils did not think they did and 41% of secondary pupils said they their school dealt with bullying ‘badly’ or ‘not very well’.
- Compared with 2016, 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
- Pupils with Special Educational Needs were more likely than the average to have been bullied (40% v 21%) in the past 12 months
- In 2016, 9% of FE/6th form students had experienced sexual harassment, and 36% had experienced verbal abuse.
- Most pupils reported they had been told how to stay safe online (91% Primary, 92% Secondary)
- However, only 66% of secondary pupils say they always follow Internet safety advice, an increase from 62% in 2016.
- 20% of primary pupils have received a chat message which upset or scared them.
- 17% Primary pupils said they had sent a chat message or posted a comment which they later wished they had not written.
- 27% said that they chat online to other people they don’t know in real life, compared with 28% who said this in 2016.
- 19% of secondary students responded that someone they don’t know in person has asked to meet with them; 6% said this person was, as far as they knew, quite a bit older than them and 5% said they did actually meet up with them.
- 23% of Secondary girls said that someone online who they didn’t know has asked to see pictures of them and 5% had actually sent sexual pictures of themselves to someone they don’t know.
- Just over half (53%) of Secondary pupils 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
- More than 1 in 3 (33%) of primary school pupils (Years 4-6) worry about crime ‘quite a lot’ or ‘a lot’
- 14% of secondary pupils rate the safety of their area when going out after dark as poor or very poor. 7% said the same about their safety at school.
| 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 relevant 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 is shown in the table below.
|Number of incidents reported
Source: Somerset County Council
*Most pupils were absent from school for about half the year because of Covid-19.
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.