ONE in three teenage girls living in the North-East fear being stalked by strangers, according to shock findings from a children’s charity.

The Children’s Society’s survey found some girls were being harassed by men in the street, asked for their number and subject to intimidating remarks.

A teenage girl interviewed by the charity for its Good Childhood Report said: “You have men beeping, blowing kisses, asking [your] age, whistling, shouting, stopping vans next to you, and asking for [your] number.”

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Meanwhile, one in four boys in the North-East feared being a victim of assault.

When it came to both sexes, one in six teens (aged 10 to 17) said they had in fact been a victim of crime.

A 13-year-old boy said: “You’ve got to fight to survive around this area. You have to stick up for yourself the whole time.”

The charity, which produces the annual research in conjunction with the University of York, said many children were facing what it called “multiple disadvantages”, blighting their potential happiness.

This included anything from financial worries, leading to the risk of becoming homeless, having a parent with a serious illness or suffering neglect themselves.

It called for the Government to address a funding shortfall in children’s services and for local government, police forces, schools and other local agencies to work together to improve the wellbeing of children in their area.

Rob Jackson, North-East area director at The Children’s Society said: “It is alarming to see that millions of teenagers are contending with a multitude of problems in their lives and suffering as a result.

“Teenagers are coming under pressure in all areas of their lives, whether it’s being afraid to walk down their street, worrying about money, or having a parent who’s seriously unwell and this is damaging their well-being.

“Sadly we know many of these teenagers will only get help if they reach crisis point – such as running away from home, or abusing alcohol or drugs.

“Children are increasingly finding themselves with nowhere to turn, putting them at greater risk.”

Responding to the survey, Durham's Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner Ron Hogg said: "If any young person believes they have been a victim of a crime, or if they have concerns about the behaviour of any individual, they should tell the police.

"The survey shows how vulnerable young people can feel and this is reflected in the objectives in my Police, Crime and Victims’ Plan.

"I have invested in support for young people in a number of ways, to increase their resilience and help them to grow up having confidence in policing.

"Police officers regularly go into schools to talk about the role of police and what young people should do if they think they may have been victims of crime.

"I also support the Police Cadets and the Mini Police, giving young people a real opportunity to work with police officers and understand what they do.

"In 2016 I introduced the first Young Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner, and there will be another Young PCVC later this year.

"I am keen to support victims of crime. For example, I have funded the Youth Offending Services in Durham and Darlington to have victim support officers for young people.

"I spend a lot of time with children and young people and it is important to me that the police give priority to the issues they raise."