18/Apr/2014 - Last News Update: 23:55

Young homeless underestimated by Britons, says survey

Category: Headlines

Published: 12th Apr 2012 00:36:09

The level of young homelessness in the UK is underestimated by over two-thirds (68%) of Britons, a survey suggests.

The research among 2,000 adults by the Consortium for Street Children (CSC) found that most people (61%) associated street children with Africa and Asia.

Fewer than one in 10 of those asked said they would feel compelled to help children sleeping rough.

CSC chief executive Sally Shire called on society to recognise that "being a street child is not a crime".

The survey found that four out of five people asked were not aware that an estimated 100,000 children become runaways in the UK every year.

Authorities should understand the reasons for street children's behaviour and provide support”

More than one in five (21%) would worry about crime if they saw young people sleeping rough.

Of those surveyed, 13% thought the issue of street children was a problem in western Europe.

The CSC is urging governments around the world to stand up for the rights of young homeless people.

Ms Shire said: "Across the globe there are large numbers of children surviving on the streets.

"Whether they are a runaway from Derby or a street child in Delhi the factors that drive children to the streets are similar.

"Being a street child is not a crime. We want governments and society to recognise this."

She added: "These children have the same rights as every other child. A recent United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights study into street children made a number of recommendations for how street children's rights can be strengthened.

"This includes universal birth registration for all, and that rather than treat street children as criminals authorities should understand the reasons for street children's behaviour and provide support."

The survey, conducted by OnePoll, was commissioned by the CSC to coincide with the International Day for Street Children.

Andy McCullough, head of UK policy and public affairs at the charity Railway Children, who grew up as a street child, said street children faced different forms of abuse and had "no legitimate rights to funds and benefits."

Most street children are either kicked out of their houses, experience domestic violence or fall out with their parents but have nowhere to go as they cannot claim housing benefits, he said.

Mr McCullough has spent many years working with street children and his experience has been that they become homeless in the long run.

"Street children are over-represented in the mental health system, the criminal justice system and there are clear correlations," he said.

Lack of funding is seen as one of the main problems facing projects involving street children.

Mr McCullough said: "If you want to work with the street children you have to go to the streets, the estates, the street corners.

"You can't expect them to reach out to you. Lots of the people working for street children try to do it from their desks."

The Department for Education said runaway children typically faced very complex issues.

A spokesman said: "Local authorities are responsible for targeted support for families with complex needs and young people at risk of substance misuse, youth crime and teenage pregnancies - which can be the root causes and consequences of running away.

"We are providing funding through the Early Intervention Grant which they can use to invest directly in services to safeguard vulnerable children and young people.

"And we are working with a range of charities and organisations to strengthen national support to help them do this."

Have you been affected by the issues raised in this story? Please share your experiences with us by filling in the form below.

If you are happy to be contacted by a BBC journalist please leave a telephone number that we can contact you on. In some cases a selection of your comments will be published, displaying your name as you provide it and location, unless you state otherwise. Your contact details will never be published. When sending us pictures, video or eyewitness accounts at no time should you endanger yourself or others, take any unnecessary risks or infringe any laws. Please ensure you have read the terms and conditions.

Terms and conditions

Source:
BBC News External Link Show Citation

Latest News

Harvard Citation

BBC News, 2012. Young homeless underestimated by Britons, says survey [Online] (Updated 12th Apr 2012)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/1421859/Young-homeless-underestimated-by-Britons-says-survey [Accessed 19th Apr 2014]

News In Other Categories

  • Bristol Academy extends reach overseas with first foreign students

    With the doors to its brand new £1million training centre officially open, one of the UK's leading apprentice training providers, Bristol based S&B Automotive Academy, is showcasing its world-class facilities by launching a series of foreign student exchanges for the first time in its 41-year history. To get a flavour of what life is like as an apprentice in the UK, the Academy hosted 16 apprentice engineers and bus drivers from the G9 Automotive College in Hamburg, Germany, as part of a Europe-wide vocational training initiative called the ‘Leonardo Programme’ with support from the European Social Fund. In a reciprocal arrangement, S&B will be sending nine apprentices to Germany during February 2012 so that they can get an appreciation of life in the automotive industry on the Continent. A further three German exchange groups are being planned for next year. Designed to assist the development of vocational skills and training across Europe, including work placements for trainees, the Leonardo Programme has a budget of €1.75bn, which is helping to encourage UK organisations to work with their counterparts abroad. In what is expected to be another challenging year for employers in the UK automotive sector, S&B’s Chief Executive, Jon Winter, claims that the exchange initiative will bring many benefits to the Academy and its apprentices: “In a world of global automotive brands, it’s important for our learners to understand the international context of the industry they have chosen to make their career. This new exchange programme will enable apprentices and Academy staff alike to achieve a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities within the automotive arena in Europe. With the Academy’s influence also extending to the USA and Asia, there’s every possibility that this initiative could move further afield in the future.” Continued Winter: “The need for skilled technicians across the world is on the increase and we actively encourage our apprentices to look at broader horizons during their training. Many of them have already learned the phrase ‘Vorsprung durch Gelehrtheit’, quite simply, ‘Advancement through learning.” In the 2010/11 academic year, S&B doubled the number of successful Apprenticeships over the previous year with some 350 apprentices graduating from the Academy. At the same time, achievement levels reached an all-time high with an overall success rate of 85%. For those learners on the Advanced Apprenticeship three-year programme, success rates were even higher, at over 98%. PHOTO CAPTION: As part of their exchange visit, S&B Automotive Academy arranged for the German apprentices to visit Hampshire bus operator, Bluestar, at its Barton Park depot. The students are pictured with S&B’s Andy West (3rd right) and Steve Prewett, Bluestar’s Area Engineering Manager (2nd right). Ends http://www.sandbaa.com
  • Pope Francis prays for abandoned in Good Friday service

    Pope Francis has led Easter's Way of the Cross procession in Rome, with prayers for the poor and the abandoned.
  • NHS Care.data information scheme 'mishandled'

    The chair of the panel set up to advise the NHS and ministers on the governance of patient information has told the BBC the Care.data programme was mishandled.
  • Commons Speaker John Bercow fights 'boring' politics stereotype

    Unruly. Noisy. Even rude.
  • US government delays Keystone XL pipeline decision

    The US state department has given federal agencies more time to review the Keystone XL oil pipeline before it determines whether to issue a permit.
  • Tottenham: I don't know my best team, says boss Tim Sherwood

    Tottenham manager Tim Sherwood has admitted that he does not know his best team because so many of his players are "much of a muchness".