Socialist Worker

The crisis facing young people

Issue No. 2066

  • 55 percent of excluded pupils and 49 percent of young people have been the victim of a crime. Young men aged 16-24 are most at risk of violent crime. In 2005-6 12.6 percent of this group were victims of violent crime.
  • 90,000 boys in Britain leave school every year with not a single GCSE.
  • 9,400 children were permanently excluded from school in 2004-5. Black pupils are up to three times more likely to be excluded than white pupils.
  • 2,878 under 18 year olds in custody in February this year. The number of 15 to 17 year olds locked up has more than doubled in the last ten years. Around 85 percent of young people in prison have mental health problems.
  • 1.6 million children live in housing that is overcrowded, run down, damp, or dangerous. There are over 8,000 homeless 16 to 17 year olds in Britain, according to figures collected by the housing charity Shelter.
  • 631,000 prescriptions were given to children under 16 for depression and other mental health disorders in the last financial year. In the mid-1990s the figure was 146,000. Around one in ten five to 16 year olds have a clinically recognisable mental health disorder.
  • 200,000 more children were living in poverty in Britain last year. In 2005-6, 3.8 million children were in relative poverty – defined as homes on less than 60 percent of average income including housing costs. This increase on the 2004-5 figures was the first rise in nearly a decade.
  • 1.2 million 16-24 year olds are not in education, employment or training.
  • 21st is Britain’s position for child well-being in a Unicef league table of 21 industrialised countries – including Poland and Hungary – published in February. Britain and the US were in the bottom third of the rankings for five of the six categories covered.

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