FEAR of crime is damaging the well-being of 19,900 teenagers in Gwent, new research from The Children's Society has revealed.

Figures published today show Caerphilly had the highest number of teenagers worried about crime - 6,200 - followed by Newport (5,300) and Torfaen and Monmouthshire (3,100 each).

Blaenau Gwent had the lowest number of teenagers fearing crime with 2,200, according to the charity's research.

The Children's Society has also found on its research that, across Wales, 102,000 teenagers are in fear of crime, with one in three teenage girls fearful of being followed by a stranger and one in four boys worried they’ll be assaulted.

Matthew Reed, chief executive of 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.

"With a £2 billion funding gap for children’s services looming, children are increasingly finding themselves with nowhere to turn, putting them at greater risk.”

The charity’s 2017 Good Childhood Report has found that an estimated 48,000 older children in Wales are contending with at least seven serious problems in their lives, significantly harming their happiness.

Fear of crime has emerged as the most widespread of the issues for children aged 10-17, with almost 2 in 5 worried about falling victim to two or more crimes.

One teenage girl interviewed by the charity said: “[They’re] blowing kisses, men beeping, standing asking [your] age, whistling, shouting stopping vans next to you, asking for [your] number.”

The findings support The Children’s Society’s determination to focus more closely on helping children who are facing what it calls ‘multiple disadvantage’.

Other disadvantages identified in the report include having a parent with a serious illness, suffering neglect and being at risk of homelessness.

The Children’s Society is calling for the government to urgently address the funding shortfall in children’s services – predicted to reach £2bn by 2020, according to the charity – and for local government, police forces, schools and other local agencies to work together to improve the wellbeing of children in their area.