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What Railway Children want to see from the next UK government

With the upcoming general election on July 4th, it’s more important than ever to make sure safeguarding children on rail is a priority for the next government. 

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Every year, around 10,000 young people are reported to British Transport Police as vulnerable or at risk on the rail network.

Many are using the railways to run away from home or care. Some may have been groomed or exploited to transport drugs as part of ‘County Lines’ activity. Others are struggling with their mental health and experiencing suicidal thoughts.

The needs and vulnerabilities of these young people are varied and complex, but one thing remains the same – without early intervention, the risk of harm increases. 

Our experience tells us that intervening at a critical moment and providing personalised support – for children and their families – is vital to helping them reach their full potential. Without a safety net in place, these vulnerable young people are more likely to experience negative outcomes later in life, and some, sadly, won't survive at all. 

We’ve already made significant progress working with the British Transport Police and the Department for Transport to influence the development and adoption of the Safeguarding on Rail Scheme across the industry. We hope to continue this vital work – and although we don’t know what the future of the rail industry is, what we do know is that the safety and wellbeing of young people must be taken seriously.

Empowering voices

We asked some of the young people we work with why early support is important. This is what they said:

“Early support avoids the path that can lead to darkness.”

“Early intervention means people are less likely to become anti-social or be involved in the wrong groups.”

“Early intervention is important because it prevents young people reaching crisis point and can potentially save a life.”

“It helps people get support before things get worse.”


We also asked young people what the new government should do to keep young people safe on rail and they said:

“Provide ways on how to keep everyone safe, like leaflets and posters.”

“To make the rail safer for young people, there should be more awareness of young people going through barriers without paying as this can cause safety issues such as county lines.”

“Increased police presence on the rail network.”

“More security on trains and in train stations, restrictions on drunk people and punishing anti-social behaviour in groups.” 


Read more about our work in the UK here.