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Call to do more to stop child attacks

CHILDREN are attacked at the rate of more than two every day in Cambridgeshire, new figures reveal.

A shocking 891 youngsters aged 15 or under were violently attacked last year - and 83 of those were no more than 10 years old.

Figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act for the year ending December 31 show, in addition, four under-10s were the victims of street robbery while 72 youngsters aged 11 to 15 suffered the same fate.

Carrie Herbert, chief executive of Cambridge-based Red Balloon, which supports bullied children, was saddened by the figures.

She said: "This is just terrible. It's shocking. How awful for young people, that they can't feel safe going about their business for fear of being attacked or mugged.

"Much more needs to be done and the schools, the public, parents and the children themselves need to all work together to stop these attacks. Children should be able to go out in public and feel safe and we must do whatever we can to make sure that happens."

For 16 to 18-year-olds, 878 suffered a violent attack and 109 were mugged. More than 6,800 over-18s were attacked and 527 were street robbery victims.

In the same period, nine under-10s were reported for committing violent assaults, while 646 aged 11 to 15 carried out violent attacks.

A total of 814 offenders aged 16 to 18 assaulted victims with 51 committing street robberies. The equivalent figures for offenders aged 19 and over were 4,078 and 112 respectively. A Cambridgeshire police spokesman said: "All violent crime is taken very seriously and thoroughly investigated by our officers."

The revelations about the extent of violence against under-10s came in the wake of the "grotesque" assault on two young boys in Doncaster.

Calls have been made to clamp down on youth violence after the incident which left a nine-year-old and 11-year-old with serious injuries.

The Shadow Home Secretary Chris Grayling said that the attack on two boys by two young brothers in Doncaster last weekend was a wake-up call for "Broken Britain".

He wants police to be given more discretion in dealing with young people and for "instant community punishments" for serious anti-social behaviour.

There have been calls for head teachers to be given powers to exclude pupils and not have their decisions overruled, and for parents to be forced to take a bigger role.

raymond.brown@cambridge-news.co.uk

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