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Monday, 16 September, 2002, 07:25 GMT 08:25 UK
Fifth of children 'are crime victims'
Children prefer to 'suffer in silence'
One in five children aged between 10 and 15 has been a victim of crime - but most keep it to themselves for fear of recrimination.

New statistics reveal 51% of victims do not report crimes to the police and 45% did not even tell their parents.

And the study, commissioned by Crimestoppers, showed that more than 40% of children lived in fear of crime.


What we have found is that the young have a cultural reluctance to be seen as a 'grass'.

Roy Clark, Crimestoppers

The crime pressure group said it offered a more complete picture of offences in Britain, since the Home Office Crime Survey only questioned those over 16.

Theft, mugging and burglary were top of the list of children's fears, followed by drugs, crimes involving weapons, and murder.

Perhaps of more concern, one in four victims said they had been targeted by somebody their own age - and nearly half knew the identity of their assailants.

Monday's survey, in conjunction with the Daily Mirror and GMTV, showed boys aged under 15 were more likely to be victims than girls (22% compared to 15%) and 23% of victims were mugged or were the victims of street crime.

'Suffer in silence'

Of the 1,064 boys and girls questioned nationwide, 38% said they would be more likely to report crimes if they could do so without giving their names.

Roy Clark, director of Crimestoppers, said: "What is particularly worrying is that half of the victims suffer in silence.

"They didn't tell their parents, they didn't tell the police.

"We at Crimestoppers have long suspected that this is so and have concentrated on the plight of young victims throughout the past year.

"What we have found is that the young have a cultural reluctance to be seen as a 'grass'.

"Some also fear retribution from those responsible. It's simply not 'cool' and a load of 'hassle' to report a crime."

The survey comes after warning from Conservatives that children "as young as four" needed to be targeted by new schemes to prevent them taking the first steps on a life of crime.

The government is currently working on a number of initiatives aimed at reducing youth crime, which includes stationing a police beat officer in secondary schools.


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21 Aug 02 | Wales
22 May 02 | Scotland
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