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EU Children's Participation Platform

Children's Voices on Feeling Safe

Safety from violence is an important topic for children, and the European Union wants to help improve the protection of children. So, we asked children and teenagers about what would help them to feel safer.

Their input is reflected in a set of EU recommendations to help adults work better together to protect children.

What did children say?

Who should help children?
  • 63% prefer to talk to someone in person (rather than going online)
  • 74% would first go to family or relatives and 68% to friends

     

What children need in different places
  • At school: better hygiene and putting a stop to bullying
  • At home: enough money to live on. When home is not safe, they need a safe space to go
  • After school: more places and activities to meet socially, with adult support
  • In public places: safer playgrounds and parks and more street lighting
  • Online: More information and training for adults and children

     

The adults who can help
  • Dedicated and understanding teachers.
  • Additional school staff (counsellors, social workers, deputies, principals…)
  • A caregiver who has time to look after their physical and emotional needs 
  • Good foster parents (when parents cannot keep their children safe)
  • Friends to help children to find help and feel safe
  • Health professionals who are friendly and explain the treatments
  • Police if they are familiar and known by the children

Illustrated summary of what children said (in English)

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I think teachers should listen to us more carefully because even though they think we are very young, we have our opinion and they should not ignore it.

14-year-old, Bulgaria
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What do children want from adults?

To listen more and better
  • For adults to respect them, listen and take them seriously
  • Adults should try harder to understand children’s needs
  • To involve them in decisions at home, school, with their communities and governments 
  • Adults should include children in developing solutions to their problems 

     

To provide more information
  • To know about potential risks and dangers
  • Information and guidance on who to ask for help and support and how to report unsafe situations
  • Clear information on what happens after they ask for help

     

To provide more help
  • Clear rules, boundaries and measures to prevent harm from happening
  • Quick action when they realise children are not safe  
  • To get help before a problem gets worse, and access to specialised support
  • To have a single trusted adult for support through a problem

     

To work well together
  • Adults should share information and communicate with each other to help create a protective environment
  • Adults should be trained all together to understand how to address children’s problems

     

To protect mental health
  • An open and safe environment to discuss mental health issues
  • More awareness raising, guidance and information to deal with mental health issues

I would put awareness on mental health, stress, and teach about it in school. Help people come up with solutions, make events. Bring awareness to after school activities, like out of school life. Bring some physical activities in school.

Child, Denmark
Blue dialogue bubble which shows there is a quote from somebody.