As­sault leads to de­bate on re­spect

Runcorn & Widnes Weekly News - - Front Page - BY OLIVER CLAY [email protected]­i­tymir­ @Oliv­erClayRWWN

● Footage of youths pur­su­ing an­other girl through Tri­dent Re­tail Park in Runcorn. At the end of the clip, one girl can be seen clearly strik­ing out at the vic­tim

AN un­pleas­ant in­ci­dent in Runcorn in which a teenage girl was fol­lowed by a group of youths then as­saulted has sparked a de­bate over to what ex­tent par­ents are re­spon­si­ble for their chil­dren’s be­hav­iour.

The girl’s or­deal hap­pened on Satur­day, De­cem­ber 29, at around 5.30am at Tri­dent Re­tail Park, with video cir­cu­lat­ing on­line show­ing the vic­tim be­ing fol­lowed, while some­one be­hind the cam­era goads an­other girl to ‘wig her’, ‘t**t her’, ‘go ‘ed’ and ‘just hit her’.

At the end of the clip, she ap­pears to be hit be­fore walk­ing away.

Read­ers were shocked by what ap­peared to be fla­grant bul­ly­ing, an out­num­bered vic­tim, and the num­bers in­volved in fol­low­ing her, which po­lice said had grown from an ini­tial group of five youths.

It was not the only prob­lem re­ported in the re­cently, with Runcorn po­lice hav­ing raised con­cerns about is­sues around Tri­dent Re­tail Park and Runcorn Shop­ping City and ‘abu­sive youths’ ‘throw­ing their drinks around’.

In No­vem­ber 2017, a 12-year-old boy suf­fered a nasty wound below his eye af­ter a metal pole was thrown at him by a group of chil­dren at the same re­tail park.

Ef­forts are on­go­ing to tackle youth anti-so­cial be­hav­iour in the area, in­clud­ing the open­ing of the shop­ping cen­tre’s Youth Zone, partly backed by Cheshire’s po­lice and crime com­mis­sioner.

Fol­low­ing the in­ci­dent on De­cem­ber 29, shocked so­cial me­dia users said par­ents have to take re­spon­si­bil­ity for how their chil­dren be­have.

Oth­ers said that fam­i­lies can only do so much to in­flu­ence their young ones and there are fac­tors be­yond their con­trol such as in­di­vid­ual na­ture, gen­eral trends and other is­sues such as school dis­ci­pline and the risk of ‘fall­ing in with the wrong crowd’.

The over­all thrust of read­ers’ com­ments was that, by and large, par­ents ● had a vi­tal role to play.

Les­ley Tu­dor Horse­field said: “I think their par­ents should take some re­spon­si­bil­ity, if you’re brought up with good morals & taught how to re­spect oth­ers then bul­ly­ing shouldn’t be an is­sue.”

Jens Page said: “We are re­spon­si­ble for our kids no mat­ter where they are, home, school or out and about.”

Ja­nine Shel­don steered a mid­dle path, say­ing: “Par­ents are re­spon­si­ble for mak­ing sure the chil­dren own up to what they do and are dealt with ac­cord­ingly.

“I don’t think it’s fair that par­ents get blamed though.

“You can do your best to be the best par­ent pos­si­ble but they can be led along the wrong path or make bad choices.”

Tony Quinn be­lieves more dis­ci­pline is needed: “We are all re­spon­si­ble.....we changed laws...cre­ated new laws all which stop proper par­ent­ing ....we ed­u­cate the chil­dren on these laws in ef­fect telling them they can do as they many cries of let the chil­dren be chil­dren its about time we al­lowed the par­ents to be par­ents and al­lowed the po­lice and the ju­di­cial sys­tem to pun­ish in a more ef­fec­tive man­ner.”

Paul Martin placed par­ents at the cen­tre of how chil­dren turn out: “Eve- ry­one has a choice to make if chil­dren are taught right from wrong from their par­ents then they have the choice to be­have them­selves when they are out.

“Same as in school, dis­ci­pline starts at home so don’t blame teach­ers for your child’s be­hav­iour!”

Laura Louise Reed said peer pres­sure and trends play a big­ger role, such as bul­ly­ing, which she said was be­com­ing worse in Hal­ton: “I don’t blame the par­ents at all. Can’t keep an eye on them all the time. Was once a teenager my­self. I did used to lie about where i was (sorry mum lol) was never bad by all means things have changed a lot. But I do think kids are pres­sured by their friends! And they have the biggest im­pact on them. You are who you hang around with. They are grow­ing up in a hor­ri­ble world where they will do any­thing to fit in. It’s wrong and I hope they were pun­ished for it. Bul­ly­ing is get­ting worse in Hal­ton lately al­ways hear­ing sto­ries about it. It’s heart break­ing. I worry about how it will be when my 2 kids are teenagers.”

Michaela Kayla Ma­son placed re­spon­si­bil­ity with the par­ents. She said: “With­out doubt re­spect should be­gin at home from an early age, and should con­tinue as our chil­dren are grow­ing up. Chil­dren should be taught kind­ness, shar­ing & car­ing for oth­ers, and again should be in­stilled in them as they are grow­ing. Manners....Please & thankyou to name a few. Chil­dren will copy their elders (par­ents & oth­ers) from an early age so it is im­por­tant that we set a good ex­am­ple. So yes, par­ents are re­spon­si­ble for their chil­dren’s be­hav­iour...”

Eve Eti­enne again placed the greater em­pha­sis on par­ent­ing: “Raise your kids with re­spect and teach them life lessons so they think morally and re­spect other mem­bers of so­ci­ety. Bud­dhism tech­niques also help.”

Chris Evans called on the me­dia to give more promi­nence to good kids to bet­ter re­flect the range of young peo­ple out there, say­ing: “Half and half – they need to take some re­spon­si­bil­ity for it – they af­ter all are re­spon­si­ble for their child’s up­bring­ing and dis­ci­pline – my kid doesn’t run riot in the streets caus­ing prob­lems for oth­ers as she knows the dif­fer­ence be­tween right and wrong and been brought up as such – yet so many par­ents blame teach­ers, po­lice and every­one else for their kids’ be­hav­iour or blam­ing the sys­tem rather than teach­ing their kids to take re­spon­si­bil­ity for their own ac­tions.

“But as with so­ci­ety to­day a small num­ber of un­ruly kids make a name for all youths as you never hear about the kids study­ing, see ar­ti­cles about the kids giv­ing up their time for char­i­ties or work­ing hard to earn ex­tra pocket money – so­ci­ety only ever sees the bad ones and the me­dia need to take some re­spon­si­bil­ity for that also.”

Lee Cook­son-Todd said some­times it’s more com­pli­cated: “I don’t think they are (re­spon­si­ble) all of the time. Some amaz­ing kids have the worst par­ents and they lit­er­ally raise them­selves and some par­ents that try their best have kids that just go off the rails. I think it’s mob men­tal­ity with these kids. As in­di­vid­u­als, they wouldn’t dream of be­hav­ing this way, egged on by a gang and some of them will prob­a­bly be act­ing out of char­ac­ter.”

Sev­eral took the view that a prover­bial ‘slap on the wrist’ ap­proach did not work.

Zoey Walsh said: “Par­ents can’t be held re­spon­si­ble 100% of the time. But if they be­come aware of their be­hav­iour then they should be spo- ken to by the po­lice.

“Plus many of them just get a slap on the wrist from lo­cal au­thor­i­ties so they’re just go­ing to keep push­ing them to see how far they can go.”

Mark Tins­ley said the preva­lence of smart­phones was re­veal­ing a peren­nial is­sue that has been there down the gen­er­a­tions: “It’s not kids these days.”

“Kids have al­ways been this way, it’s only be­cause of cam­era phones and Face­book that it’s more pub­li­cised. “That’s a good thing.” In the eyes of the law, the age of crim­i­nal re­spon­si­bil­ity in Eng­land and Wales is 10 years, mean­ing un­der that age chil­dren can­not be held crim­i­nally re­spon­si­ble although they can re­ceive cur­fews ban­ning them from be­ing in pub­lic from 6-9pm un­less ac­com­pa­nied by an adult, or a Child Safety Or­der plac­ing them un­der the su­per­vi­sion of a youth of­fend­ing team.

Par­ents of chil­dren who end up in trou­ble with the law can also be asked to at­tend a par­ent­ing pro­gramme, sign a par­ent­ing con­tract or be slapped with a Par­ent­ing Or­der in court.

Ac­cord­ing to Hal­ton Bor­ough Coun­cil, crim­i­nal­ity among the young can in some cases also be a symp­tom of ne­glect and par­ents not pro­vid­ing proper bound­aries to be­hav­iour and fail­ing to pre­vent chil­dren from be­ing ex­posed to ‘avoid­able risks’.

Cineworld cinema at Tri­dent Re­tail Park in Runcorn

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