The Children’s Society is calling for more
targeted work with young runaways, including new refuges for those
who end up on the streets.
In a new report, the charity finds that
younger runaways are nearly three times more likely than their
older counterparts to be sexually assaulted. They are also more
likely to sleep rough, be bullied at school, experience learning
difficulties and be in trouble with the police.
“Running away behaviour is likely to be more
extensive and riskier than young people who first run away after
the age of 11,” says the report.
It recommends that services be made more
responsive to the needs of young children on the streets, with
emergency refuge and foster care places, plus awareness-raising
initiatives targeted at primary schools.
Children’s Society chief executive Ian Sparks
said: “I know of no other children whose experiences are so stark,
whose lives are so punctuated with violence, abuse and neglect, and
whose needs are so unmet.”
Barbara Roche, minister of state in the
Cabinet Office, said the social exclusion unit was looking at young
runaways and preparing a report.
– Child Runaways: Under 11s Running Away
in the UK from 020 7841 4415