The Big Ambition for Safety from Crime

26 Apr 2024 10:48 AM

As Children’s Commissioner, I have heard from hundreds of thousands of children, parents and carers about children’s life experiences, what they want to achieve and the challenges they face. A strong theme emerging from children was the desire to feel safe and confident in public spaces.  

Making sure that children and young people feel safe in their community is important not simply because it gives them a sense of wellbeing and supports their development, but also because it empowers them to explore and learn in their area without fear or intimidation.   

That’s why it’s encouraging that the results of The Big Ambition show most children and parents do feel safe in their local area – but not all. For too many children their experiences of their local community seems to be getting worse in comparison to The Big Ask in 2021. Responses to The Big Ambition reveal that children and young people are hugely aware of the impact of crime on their lives and their local communities:  

“The government should focus on prevention instead of cure, a lot of mistakes I have made, and many other young people have made was due to a lack of help from professionals.” – Boy, 17 

“I think the Government should try to make children feel safe whoever they are, wherever they are.” – Girl, 9. 

“Crime needs to be tackled on the streets, meaning the youth of today can feel safe and able to use the positive aspects of the world to help them to grow.” – Boy, 15  

Protecting children from violence and harm is a fundamental measure of success for any government, but more than that, they deserve to feel safe and confident as they go about their lives. More is needed to make this a reality, as well as to ensure child victims receive the real and specialist support they need to heal, and to be confident that children are safer for having come into contact with the justice system. There also must be a holistic and preventative approach to children’s involvement with criminality, from tackling child poverty to ensuring every child has the opportunity to thrive in their community or pursue the career they dream of.  

That’s why I have set out five overarching outcomes I want for every child in The Big Ambition, namely that they are safe, healthy, happy, learning and engaging in their community.  To achieve that within support in keeping children safe from crime will mean achieving the following ambitions:  

You can read all my recommendations for how we can achieve each of these ambitions in The Big Ambition report.   

The Big Ambition for Safety from Crime