Feeling Unsafe in the Community

What is it?

Feeling Unsafe in the Community is based on TDSB students who “Rarely”, “Never”, or “Sometimes” feel safe on their street or in their neighbourhood. For students in Grades K to 6 responses to this question were reported by parents. For students in Grades 7 and 8, responses to this question were self-reported.

Why is it important?

Children's wellbeing is strongly influenced by their environments, including their neighbourhood. A child’s perception of safety is important because feeling unsafe may limit their engagement in activities that support their health and development, such as playing outside, interacting with peers and neighbours, and participating in the community. A child may feel unsafe in their neighbourhood for many reasons - a lack of safe infrastructure like street lights, feeling distrustful, or experiencing exclusion and discrimination.

What does it mean?

While most children in Toronto feel safe in their community, this is not true in all parts of the city. Figure 1 shows that more parents in Scarborough, north Etobicoke, west North York, and parts of east downtown reported that their child feels unsafe. Figure 2 shows that parents with lower incomes were more likely to report their child feels unsafe in their community. Figure 3 shows that in 2012, only 2% of parents reported their child “Rarely” or “Never” feels safe in their neighbourhood compared to 5% of grade 7 and 8 students.

Figure 1: Percent of students who feel unsafe in their community, TDSB (Grades K to 6), 2012