Teenage years 'marred by violence'

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The Independent Online
One in three young people aged 12 to 15 has been assaulted in the past eight months, according to a survey published yesterday.

But the Home Office study discovered that only about 40 per cent of all crimes and harassment were reported to parents, teachers and the police.

A sample of 1,350 young people, who were sent questionnaires, found that bullying, harassment and theft were commonplace, particularly in or near school. It also revealed a high level of fear of crime.

Seven out of ten said they had been victimised in the eight months before being questioned. Four out of ten felt unsafe when out alone at night, and a third or more said they worried about mugging, assaults and sexual pestering.

The report, Young People, Victimisation and the Police,found a surprisingly positive attitude towards the police with about 60 per cent saying the police did a very or fairly good job.

The study concluded: "It would be misleading to present the findings as revealing a new problem of teenage crime; but equally, one should not dismiss the very considerable risks that teenagers run of various forms of thefts and assaults which are unequivocally crimes ...

"One finding borne out by this study is that the stereotype of young people as anti authority - and more specifically anti-police - does not hold."