Street attacks ‘seen by many children’ in Islington

Dozens of children have witnessed street violence including muggings and stabbings, according to an Islington charity.

Researchers from Witness Confident, based in St Paul’s Road, Highbury Corner, spoke to 55 children aged 10 to 11 from six primary schools in Islington and Hackney and found that the majority had seen violent acts.

One child told them: “My cousin got stabbed in the head and it went straight through and touched his brain.” A pupil told how his uncle was shot with a pellet gun and another saw a relative robbed at knifepoint.

Witness Confident director Guy Dehn said: “We were shocked by the number of children who had experience of witnessing street violence, some of which was very unpleasant. But, interestingly, the children were streetwise and knew in such scenarios how to assess the risk and do something to help.”

The charity has begun a campaign to cut street violence in Islington and Hackney by 20 per cent over the next four years.

Mr Dehn said the survey aimed to encourage children to report crime and primary schools to discuss it with pupils.

He continued: “Schools ought to make it clear that they are a safe haven where children feel able to discuss street violence.

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“We need to give them confidence in their ability to influence things and other people in the community. If not we run the risk of a culture of fear, where some children won’t go out.”

n The full report can be downloaded at