Friday, May 20, 2011

Thousands of children have carried a knife for their own protection, shock survey reveals - 20th May 2011

Thousands of children have carried a knife for their own protection in the last year, shock figures revealed today.

The youngsters admitted they had a weapons with them - even though they agreed that it made them more likely to be stabbed themselves.

The figures, based on interviews with almost 2,000 children aged between 13 and 15 for the British Crime Survey, were released for the first time to show children's experiences of bullying and personal safety.

One in 100 children said they had carried a knife for their own protection in the last year, while more than one in eight said they knew someone who had.

But more than two in three - 69 per cent - agreed that carrying a weapon meant they were more likely to be the victim of a blade attack themselves.

Younger children more likely to think that having a knife increased their chances of being harmed, the survey found.

Home Secretary Theresa May has said the Government are 'absolutely clear' that anybody convicted of possessing a blade should expect to be sent to prison after ex-EastEnders star Brooke Kinsella published a report on the issue in February.

The 27-year-old actress was brought in by the Government after her 16-year-old brother Ben was stabbed to death three years ago.

She found that many headteachers were reluctant to run anti-knife crime workshops out of a fear their school would be labelled as having a problem, damaging its reputation.

The crime survey also revealed that 22 per cent of children aged 10 to 15 had been bullied in a way that frightened or upset them in the last year.

Boys aged 10 to 12 were the most likely to have been targeted.

In 79 per cent of cases the children involved had been called names or sworn at, and in 7 per cent of incidents they were ordered to hand over money or other items by their tormentors.

Of all those who had been bullied in the last year, around one in four said they had been victims of cyber-bullying, where victims are sent 'unwanted and nasty emails, texts or messages' or have unpleasant items posted about them on a website.

A total of 3,762 children aged between 10 and 15 were interviewed across England and Wales for the survey. Source