In the UK
While a common perception is that ‘street children’ are only found abroad, there are, in fact, more than 100,000 children in the UK who run away from home every year. This is most commonly to escape violence at home and parental neglect. Not all, of course, stay away from home for more than a short time, but many do.
Most people will think that in a country like the UK there will be safe places where children on the streets can take refuge. In reality, there are just five refuge beds for children across the whole of the country. [and yes you did read this correctly. Just five refuge beds]
Railway Children (RC) are committed to raising awareness and funds to protect these invisible children that many people deny even exist. By seeking to change Government policies and social stigma, RC are looking to put in place the vital safety nets necessary to help these children being lost to our streets, and giving them a chance to fulfil their true potential.
A report Off the Radar, is based on a qualitative research study into the lives, situations and experiences of more than a hundred detached children and young people in the UK. It highlights how children become trapped in a world of violence, drugs and despair.
See: Off the Radar 2009
We have a DVD in our resources library entitled Britain’s street kids which was a Channel Four Dispatches programme in 2010.