Public in favour of imposing teenage curfews

64% of respondents want to see teens off the streets by 9.00pm

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The British public are broadly in favour of street curfews for teenagers, according to research commissioned by Youthwork magazine. In response to the question ‘Should curfews be introduced in your area to keep teens off the street after 9pm?’ 64% of the 1000 people questioned by top survey firm Communicate Research answered ‘yes’.

Youthwork magazine, a monthly periodical designed to support paid and volunteer Youthworkers believe the results may have been influenced by the current media frenzy surrounding teenage behaviour and are keen that all teens are not seen as troublemakers. Youthwork Editor, Martin Saunders said “Like many involved in work with teenagers, I’m very nervous about something that criminalises young people for hanging out with their friends”

Saunders continued “Clearly the public feels that curfews will make their areas feel safer, and they may do so, but they may also antagonise teenagers, further weaken their image of the police, and most likely force the same groups to simply congregate in someone else’s neighbourhood. Such measures still avoid the root causes of anti-social teen behaviour.”

Interestingly, survey respondents from the lowest-income households represented the demographical group most in favour of curfews. Despite media-led perceptions that poorer families are responsible for the prevalence of negative teenage street presence, a resounding 71% of respondents from this group said that they were in favour of curfews.

Saunders commented “It would seem that while it is commonly believed that poorer families are forcing their children out on to the street, the survey results suggest this group would actually far rather see their teenagers in safer surroundings in the evening.”

July 5, 2005