As the opening of the International Conference on Children
in Europe and West Asia approaches, UNICEF, the UN agency
that deals with children around the world, has published
research findings from a study the organization conducted
among children in a number of countries.
The findings of the comprehensive survey -- conducted in
selected areas in Europe and West Asia among 15,000 children
aged 9-17 -- were published in the U.K. newspaper
Independent and showed that 17 percent of the
children surveyed do not feel safe in the neighborhoods in
which they live, while 16 percent are victims of physical
violence in their homes.
UNICEF says the researchers interviewed children in 35
countries in Europe and the former Soviet Union and found a
significant gap between East and West, not only in living
standards but also in terms of aspirations and fears. One-
fourth of the children in the former Communist states plan
to emigrate to the West when they grow up. In the East the
fear of violence among children is twice the rate of their
Western counterparts. They are more pessimistic regarding
the political system under which they live and the
possibility of improving their lives via the ballot box.
Less than one-third have confidence in their government and
one-fourth feel that life is worse than it was ten years
Has UNICEF drawn the conclusion that children in the West
live under ideal circumstances? Actually the survey also
showed that one in every ten children in Western nations
reported that violence is also common in their families.