How can crime affect school?

School is a large part of your life so it’s important to feel happy there.

This content has been written for children and young people. If you’re looking for information for over 18s, visit our Coping with Crime information. 

If you don’t feel happy at school, you may start struggling to concentrate in class, or you may find that your attendance is affected. You might not want to take part in activities at school that you enjoyed before, or talk to friends you used to hang out with.

There are things you can do to help you cope with the impact of crime on your school life.

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If you are worried about being bullied at school, or there is someone at school who has committed the crime, or are friends with the person who did, then it’s understandable that you may not want to be there.

It could be that you’ve been a victim of hate crime – being targeted or abused (verbally or physically) because of things like your race, your religion, your sexual preference or a disability.  You may be scared of the journey or times before and after schools.

Or maybe domestic abuse is making things difficult in your family, and you think you should be at home, supporting your brother or sister, or even a parent.

You’re not to blame for any of these situations, and it’s understandable that issues like these and many others could have an impact on your school life and your school work, or affect your involvement with other clubs or teams. But in many cases, trying to get back to ‘normal’ – or at least, being able to do the things you like doing – is an important part of coping and recovering from being a victim of crime.

Whatever your situation, there are things you can do to make sure that your school and social life don’t suffer because you are a victim of crime. The first step will often be to talk about what’s happened to an adult who you trust – maybe a parent, a teacher, a school nurse or youth counsellor – and ask for their help.

If you can, talk to your parents or another adult relative, your teacher or youth worker about the situation. You can also talk to Victim Support to find out what local services there are near you, or speak to someone at the Supportline on 08 08 16 89 111 about how to cope with the effects of crime.

Your Victim Support supporter can talk to your school, and help you to negotiate extensions to any deadlines or reduce timetables so that you don’t fall behind with your school work. They can help you to put together your safety plan, which will make sure you stay safe in the future. They will also be able to talk to your school to explain that you may need time off in the future, if you have to go to court as a witness.

You have a right to be safe and supported at school and if you think this isn’t the case then you should talk to school. If things don’t get better then it’s important to get support from another trusted adult to help you talk to the school again. If you have tried talking to a teacher but nothing has changed you may need to talk to the head teacher or a governor of the school.

Every school has an anti-bullying policy and a safeguarding policy and should be able to find a way of making sure you are safe and supported at school. If you think that your school are not taking your safety seriously then you can make a complaint. Depending on whether your school is an academy or not will depend on who you can complain to.

Local authorities are responsible for education in their area so it’s a good starting point to ask for their guidance and advice on how you can get your complaint listened to. You will need to put your concerns in writing. Your Victim Support worker or another trusted adult can help you do that.