Barnardo’s: Survey reveals ‘disturbing’ intolerance of children

Barnardo’s has attacked “an unjustified and disturbing intolerance of children” in the UK after releasing a poll showing that over half of adults believe children are beginning to behave like animals.

A survey of over 2,000 adults for the charity, carried out last month by YouGov, also found almost half (49%) of people disagreed with the statement that children who got into trouble were often misunderstood and in need of professional help.

The poll also found that:-

  • 49% of people agree that children are increasingly a danger to each other and adults.
  • 43% agree something has to be done to protect us from children.
  • 35% of people agree that it feels like the streets are “infested” with children.
  • 45% disagreed with the statement: “People refer to children as feral but I don’t think they behave this way.”

Most children not troublesome

The charity’s chief executive, Martin Narey, said: “Despite the fact that most children are not troublesome there is still a perception that today’s young people are a more unruly, criminal lot than ever before.”

The charity released the results alongside a report, Breaking the cycle, which seeks to demonstrate that children at risk of criminality are often those in need of greatest support, and that with the right services they can be diverted away from antisocial behaviour.

Narey added: “The real crime is that this sort of talk and attitude does nothing to help those young people who are difficult, unruly or badly behaved to change their ways.”

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