MANY young people do not feel safe in their own neighbourhoods, leaders of a children's charity said today.
Andrew Girvan, director of children's services for NCH Scotland, claimed youngsters were as much the victims of violent crime as they were the perpetrators.
The organisation is taking part in a summit on gun crime being organised by the Scottish Government.
Mr Girvan pledged to make sure ministers were aware of youngsters' views after a survey by the charity found 63 per cent of young people said the main reason people in their age group got involved in gun and knife crime was to protect themselves.
He said: "We need to stop generalising and labelling young people as the problem.
"Young people are as much the victims as the perpetrators of violent crime and they want safe communities, just as we all do."
The study also found 63 per cent believed peer pressure was a major factor in gun and knife crime.