Young Asian runaways do not approach social
services and the police while they are on the street because they
fear they will be misunderstood, according to a new report from the
No-One’s Asked Us
that young Asian people are less likely to approach such support
services compared with other children, because they feel that
providers may not have the appropriate knowledge and skills to meet
their cultural needs.
report was based on interviews with 37 Asian girls and young women
who had run away. It found that some of the Asian runaways thought
social services and the police would assume they were trying to
escape arranged marriages. These agencies failed to take into
account the Asian runaways’ mental health or issues relating to
sexual abuse or their sexuality, says the report.
1999, the Children’s Society published research suggesting that
Asian runaways were more at risk of violence and sexual assault
because they were twice as likely to stay away from home for more
than a week than other children.
Akhtar, report co-author and project worker at Manchester-based
Safe in the City, said: “Asian children may be running away for
longer and are at greater risk of coming into danger on the
streets, yet support services are not responding effectively to
Children’s Society is calling for police and social services to
employ more skilled Asian workers who can understand and address
the cultural needs of Asian runaways, and acknowledge the problem
in cultural awareness training.
No One’s Asked Us Before and Still Running: Children on the
Streets in the UK, 1999, from www.childrenssociety.org.uk