Seventy per cent of Canadian children are concerned about crime and violence, Small Voices, Big Dreams survey says


MARKHAM, ON, Nov. 20, 2013 /CNW/ - An international survey by ChildFund Alliance (CFA) of almost 6,500 children, including 400 Canadian participants, reveals a sophisticated understanding of violence and its causes.

The fourth annual Small Voices, Big Dreams survey reveals that, "more than 70 per cent of Canadian children are concerned about crime and violence. Nearly 80 per cent feel most safe and happy when they're with their family, and more than half say a parent or family member is their hero," said Mark Lukowski, Chief Executive Officer, Christian Children's Fund of Canada (CCFC), a CFA member which led the Canadian survey component.

One of the most comprehensive polls of children's opinions in the world, the survey asked 10-to-12-year-olds in 47 countries across the Americas, Europe, Africa and Asia about their views on socio-political issues facing their country.

This year's survey focused on violence and exploitation. Children were also asked to describe what makes them feel safe and provides them with a sense of happiness.

Views on the main causes of violence differed across the developing regions and reflected the key issues adults are working to address today; almost a third (29 per cent) of children in Africa identified links between poverty and violence; while one in five children in the Americas recognised domestic abuse served as a foundation for violence - significantly higher than any other region. Meanwhile in Asia, one in four children said alcohol was the main cause of violence - four times more than in Africa and twice as much as in the Americas.

Children in developing countries are five times more likely to derive happiness and a sense of safety from schooling compared to their peers in developed countries. Consistent with this theme, children from developing countries are more likely to view their teachers as heroes than in the western world.

Among the Canadian findings:

  • Nearly 46 per cent say if they were the leader of our country, the one thing they would do to protect children from violence is to put bad people in jail;
  • Poverty is seen to be the main cause of violence, with lack of education or a proper upbringing as the second most popular cause; and
  • 63 per cent said one of the most important things is that nobody should be treated badly.

Bad behaviour (33 per cent), alcohol (21 per cent) and drugs (18 per cent) are the top three causes of violence according to children in developed countries; whereas in developing regions children also ranked poverty, domestic abuse and social conflict highly.                 

Lukowski added, "Through our work in developing countries, we know that many of the world's children share the concerns of Canadian children. Every child deserves to feel safe, happy and protected. That's why we are focused on helping children, families and communities break the cycle of poverty. We also work to defend the rights of children and protect them from harm."

Felicitas Adrian, Vice President, Fund Development and Communications, CCFC, said, "One of the ways Canadians can participate in protecting children from violence and exploitation is to sign a petition on child protection and share it with colleagues, family, friends and social networks. Christian Children's Fund of Canada is urging Canadians to support the ChildFund Alliance Free From Violence and Exploitation petition that is circulating worldwide and will be submitted to the United Nations. This is part of our international advocacy work."

Secretary General of the ChildFund Alliance, Jim Emerson, commented, "The Small Voices, Big Dreams findings reinforce the understanding that children in both the developed and developing worlds have an intelligent view of their environments and are highly aware of the conflict and precursors to violence in their respective countries. As adults, we've also been reminded of the importance to stop and listen to what children have to say.

"Being a child-focused agency, we value our work with children and are helping give a voice to those who may not usually have the opportunity. The results are used as an important tool for the ChildFund Alliance to ensure our services and priorities are continually aligned with those who need them most."

To download the Small Voices, Big Dreams report, obtain photos or video, visit

Christian Children's Fund of Canada is a member of ChildFund Alliance, a worldwide group of 12 child-focused development organizations working in 58 countries to implement long-lasting and meaningful changes for children and families. For more than 50 years, CCFC has been helping children and families of all faiths move from poverty to self-reliance.

For broadcast quality video to support this story please visit:

Video with caption: "Video: Seventy per cent of Canadian children are concerned about crime and violence, Small Voices, Big Dreams survey says". Video available at:

Image with caption: ""The main causes of violence are sexism, racism, and bullying": Danielle, 11, Ontario (CNW Group/Christian Children's Fund of Canada)". Image available at:

Image with caption: ""Give all kids security guards": Bishop, 10, Ontario (CNW Group/Christian Children's Fund of Canada)". Image available at:

PDF available at:

SOURCE: Christian Children's Fund of Canada

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