Public underestimates level of youth homelessness
A survey of 2,000 people commissioned by the Consortium for Street Children (CSC) and Aviva to mark International Day for Street Children today revealed public misperceptions about the issue of children on the UK’s streets and an apparent lack of awareness.
An estimated 100,000 children run away in the UK every year but the survey found that the vast majority of people in Britain (80 per cent) significantly underestimate the problem.
Fewer than 10 per cent said they would feel “really compelled” to help young people sleeping rough but 21 per cent said they would feel suspicious of potential criminal activity at the sight of young people sleeping rough.
Only 13 per cent of people realised the issue of street children is prevalent in western Europe, with most associating the issue with the developing world.
Sally Shire, chief executive of CSC, 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.”
The government is currently working on plans to address youth homelessness, with a payment-by-results scheme for tackling the problem under consideration.