Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Children Feel Safer If They Carry a Knife; Face of London? Shakilus Townsend, 16, Was Stabbed to Death, One of the 19 Teenagers Killed So Far in London This Year

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Children Feel Safer If They Carry a Knife; Face of London? Shakilus Townsend, 16, Was Stabbed to Death, One of the 19 Teenagers Killed So Far in London This Year

Article excerpt

Byline: TIM ROSS

ALARMING numbers of children feel safer in the street when carryingknives or guns, Government inspectors warned today.

A top-level report found that many chil-dren were still very worried aboutbeing bullied and were afraid of being on their own in public areas.

Up to one in 10 of the most vulnerable youths said carrying a weapon made themfeel safer. Many also called for tougher prison sentences for criminals, thestudy said.

The warnings came just 24 hours after 14-year-old David Idowu became the 19thteenager to be killed in London this year.

The joint report from the chief inspectors of schools, police, healthcare andprisons, among others, said: Children and young people are still very worriedabout their personal safety and bullying. This is more so in certain schools,childrens homes and youth offender institutions.

Ofsted research found that many of the most vulnerable young people wantedtougher penalties for offenders to make them feel safer in the streets.

The report continued: It was alarming that 11 per cent of young people whoresponded also said that they felt safer when they were carrying weapons suchas guns or knives. Feeling safe in their environment is one of the thingschildren rank as being most important to them.

But while 95 per cent of children who took part in an Ofsted survey said theyfelt safe at school, just 68 per cent felt equally secure travelling on publictransport.

Chief Inspector of Education Christine Gilbert said there had been someimprove-ments in safeguarding children since the last joint report three yearsago.

But she added: The position is still not good enough to give our mostvulnerable children and young people the support they need.

I hope the recommendations from this report accelerate the pace of change sothat these children thrive and are more able to lead productive and fulfillinglives.

The report came as Tessa Jowell warned today that knife crime was damagingLon-dons international reputation. …

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