As part of the Platform’s 2023-2024 Work Plan, we asked children and teenagers across Europe about what helps them to feel safe. This is an important topic for children, and the European Union wants to help improve the protection of children.
Who did we speak to?
1,095 children between the ages of 7-17 from 21 European Union countries.
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 to feel safer in different places
- At school: Better hygiene and putting a stop to bullying.
- At home: Having enough money to live on. And when home is not safe, children need a safe space to go to.
- After school: More places and activities to meet socially, with adult’s support.
- In public places: Safer playgrounds and parks and more street lighting.
- Online: More information and training for adults and children on staying safe online.
- The adults who can help children feel safer
- 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 children safe).
- Friends help children to find help and feel safe.
- Health professionals who are friendly and explain any treatments.
- Police if they are familiar and known by the children.
What do children want from adults?
- To listen more and better
- Children want adults to respect them, listen to them and take them seriously.
- Adults should try harder to understand children’s needs.
- Children want to be involved in decisions at home and school, in their communities and with governments.
- Adults should include children in developing solutions to their problems.
- To provide more information
- Children want to know about potential risks and dangers.
- Children want adults to provide them with information and guidance on who to ask for help and support and how to report unsafe situations.
- Children want clear information on what happens after they ask for help.
- To provide more help
- Adults should set clear rules, boundaries and measures that can prevent harm from happening.
- Adults should act quickly when they realise children are not safe. A caregiver who has time to look after their physical and emotional needs.
- Children want to get help before a problem becomes worse, with access to specialised support.
- Children want to have a single trusted adult for support throughout 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
- Children want an open and safe environment to discuss mental health issues.
- Children also want more awareness raising, guidance and information to deal with mental health issues. problems.
What happens next?
The ideas and needs shared by children will help the EU write a document of recommendations on how adults can work better together on child safety.
The recommendations will be shared with EU countries and can be used by people in schools, hospitals and everyone working with children and teenagers.