How safe children feel

UNICEF/HQ99-0013/ MIA BRANDT
A mother and her child at a transit camp on the Macedonia-Kosovo border.

Seventeen per cent of children polled - representing nearly 16 million - say they feel unsafe walking around in their neighbourhood, 3 per cent feeling very unsafe. The proportion of children in the transition countries (20%) who feel unsafe in their communities is about double that in Western Europe (11%), with the highest proportion of children feeling unsafe in Western CIS (26%), South-eastern Europe (24%) and higher in EU accession candidate countries (19%).

  • Twice as many children feel unsafe in urban (21%) than rural areas (11%).
  • Girls (19%) are more likely to feel unsafe than boys (15%).
  • 20% of children have a friend or a family member who has been the victim of violence and feel less safe.
  • Some (8%) have been a victim of violence themselves.

Children who feel unsafe walking around in their neighbourhood say it is because they have seen frightening, threatening or suspicious-looking persons loitering (50%); have witnessed violence such as fights, acts of aggression, quarrels or street crime (40%); or because of neighbourhood problems such as poor street lighting, heavy traffic and dangerous dogs (20%).

Click below to view the responses to the questions related to this issue:

• Is my neighbourhood safe to walk in?…(by detailed region) [view]
• Is my neighbourhood safe to walk in?...
(by gender, age, area, EU accession or socio-economic group)

This information is provided as a contribution to discussion on important issues affecting children. UNICEF Regional offices conducted the polls, analysis and interpretations of the findings. For more information, please contact the regional poll contact person directly.

About the survey
How happy children are
How children feel at home
How children feel at school
How children feel in today's society
How safe children feel
Children and harmful or illegal substances
How informed children are
Children's views on government and politics
How children see the future