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As Children’s Commissioner, I speak to hundreds of thousands of children every year about their life experiences, what they want to achieve and the challenges they face. A strong theme that has emerged from speaking to children has been the desire to feel safe and confident in public spaces.

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

It was encouraging to see in my most recent survey, The Big Ambition, that most children do feel safe in their local area – but far too many don’t. Responses indicate that children are hugely aware of the impact of crime on their lives and their local communities.

My young Ambassadors have been sharing their views on each of the themes from The Big Ambition, continuing with Safety from Crime:


Crime touches us all, whether it is hearing about it on the news, to seeing it first-hand or being involved in it.

I live in a place rife with knife violence and drug abuse, although I attend a sheltered college I am still affected by news of lockdowns [when a crime incident is declared] and stabbings around my school.

Children and young people deserve to be able to commute to and from their places of education without the fear of being attacked or involved in crime.

I believe there needs to be more awareness of the support networks and crisis resources available for young people, so we know who and where we can turn to for help.

Crime can sometimes feel inescapable, however there are large, professional groups of people who dedicate their lives to care, support and help you feel safe and appreciated.


Crime disproportionately affects young people from specific areas of the country. Growing up in an area with a significant amount of crime surrounding them can hinder development, well-being, and prospects profoundly.

Crime can also erode trust in institutions leading to feelings of helplessness. Every young person deserves to feel safe no matter where they are from. We cannot allow crime to disrupt the normal development trajectory of young people’s lives.

Exposure to crime can have devastating consequences. It can lead to academic difficulties, behavioural problems, and increased risk of engaging in criminal behaviour.

It can also lead to young people feeling alienated from society. Forcing them to isolate themselves from the world, leading to difficulty forming trusting relationships or seeking help when needed.

Young people can be vulnerable in the face of crime, and this must be recognised. If this vulnerability leads to their involvement, their life chances can be destroyed, perpetuating a cycle of disadvantage and marginalisation. Young people involved in crime may face stigma and discrimination, further hindering their ability to reintegrate into society and lead successful and fulfilling lives.

We must tackle crime to allow young people to have equal opportunities. We must work together and listen to each other. If we do, we can break this cycle together.


One of my main aims as a young Ambassador is to advocate for keeping children safe from crime. I want to serve as a voice for young people, representing their interests and concerns.

Keeping children safe from crime is crucial for their well-being and development. Children are vulnerable and need protection from various forms of crime, including physical harm, exploitation, and gang violence.

I recently had the amazing opportunity to attend a roundtable discussion with a diverse group of professionals from the criminal justice system. We had an open and collaborative dialogue, sharing ideas and strategies to ensure the safety and well-being of young people.

In the roundtable there was much discussion about the role of role of government to help raise the voices of children and young people by making sure that they are heard and listened too. It’s also important that decision makers take full accountability and responsibility for the rise in youth crime after the pandemic – and this is something I fully support.

As a young person with a platform, I am passionate about speaking out against knife crime and gang violence – we need to break the cycle of this violence and remember those who have sadly become victims of knife crime.

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