Domestic abuse awareness and mental health have been cited as the main concerns among children and young people in West Norfolk during the coronavirus pandemic.
The findings have been highlighted in a study carried out by a Youth Commission set up by Lorne Green, Norfolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC).
The Youth Commission launched its six month-long COVID-19 Project – conducted in the form of a consultation – in May following the lockdown.
The Youth Commission has completed two reports, the first identifying the main worries among young people and the second exploring how the area of most concern – domestic abuse – could be tackled.
Mr Green said: “I am immensely proud of the work my Youth Commission has been carrying out over the past few months.
“It has been and remains a hugely unsettling time for young people and it is crucial we discover how the pandemic has impacted on their lives and how we can best assist them in the future.”
The Youth Commission, which currently has around 50 members, worked with organisations across Norfolk in a bid to gain as much feedback as possible from peers.
This will help inform the wider work of the PCC, which commissions victims’ services including organisations which support victims of domestic abuse.
The Youth Commission’s project focused on how young people view the impact of the pandemic on policing, crime and vulnerability.
Findings showed domestic abuse and safeguarding were the major concerns, with young people also concerned about adjusting to the lack of freedom, missing education, loneliness and isolation, filling time and lack of routine and keeping mentally and physically well.
The report noted: “There seems to be a lot of information being aimed at school age and adults, but there is a gap in communication for 16 to 24 year olds and current campaigns may not be effective in capturing their attention.”
Jacqui Starling, who runs the Youth Commission, added: “The commission has done a great job at identifying gaps in how important information reaches young people, and it gives us a call to action on making sure the connection between unhealthy behaviours in young relationships and domestic abuse is highlighted.”