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Violence 'a problem for children'

UK, May, 22: Violence is seen as a "major problem for young people" by more than 80% of 11 to 16-year-olds, according to a survey for a children's charity.

The NSPCC survey found that 42% of children had been hit, punched or kicked at secondary school.

Three-quarters had been bullied at school, while one in four had seen adults in the family being violent.

The charity wants Gordon Brown to use his first 100 days as prime minister to tackle violence against children.

According to the survey, large number of UK youngsters were witnesses to violence, with 59% saying they had seen violence or bullying between young people on the street.

Of the 1,172 boys and girls asked by GfK NOP about violence in their lives, 81% said violence was "a major problem for young people nowadays".

And it left them fearful, with 22% frightened of violence towards them at school and 38% "really scared" of attacks against them by young people they did not know.

Less than half of those questioned thought there was enough support for them to deal with violence (44%), and 28% said they would like specialist anti-bullying counsellors and school lessons on how to stay safe.

One in six young people said they took no action the last time they saw something violent or abusive happening on the street or at school - because they did not know what to do.

Only one in four believe young people know how to protect themselves.

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NSPCC chief executive Dame Mary Marsh said: "Although a snapshot, this survey shows how children themselves feel that violence invades their lives at school, home and on the streets, sometimes daily.

"Children should not have to accept violence as part of growing up. Much of it could be stopped if governments across the UK took action."

She said that one in three children who call ChildLine say they are suffering from violence and abuse, and that bullying has been the main reason for calling the helpline for the past 10 years.

"There couldn't be a better way for Gordon Brown to start his new premiership than by relieving the misery of children in desperate need of help," she added.

The NSPCC is currently running its Don't Hide It campaign, aimed at 11 to 16-year-olds, which urges children to speak out about all forms of abuse.

(BBC News)
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