13 February 2020
The Youth Select Committee is a British Youth Council initiative, supported by the House of Commons, that brings together 11-18 year olds to investigate issues that are important to young people. They have been conducting an inquiry on violence affecting young people. Two members of Dare London, Jo-Ash and Ciaran, submitted their views to the report at a joint meeting of the APPG on Youth Affairs and APPG on Knife Crime in July 2019.
| What did you learn?
I’ve learnt that knife crime is a serious issue as it affects not only young people, but the community as well. Plus, I’ve found out more about the key topics of knife crime, such as finding the solution and what’s the government’s approach to the knife crime situation.
I really agreed with something I heard, that role models, youth services and mentoring will help young people when it comes to mental health and training them to make good choices in life. The importance of role models makes a powerful difference to young people.
It’s not the young people’s fault that they are involved in knife crime. It’s our society that has let them down and that needs to change. We all know that young people become involved in knife crime because of the lack of paid opportunities for young people. Young people aged 13 and over sometimes follow the wrong crowd and think that selling drugs is the only way to make money. Providing opportunities in the world of work would give young people the chance to avoid knife crime.
| What surprised you?
The amazing young people who are part of the Youth Select Committee; making a powerful difference, protecting their future, and figuring out solutions to stop the knife crime for the future. When police stop and search young people, it breaks the trust, rather than building it. I think that’s a problem. I’ve never had this experience, but I have seen this kind of problem on the news.
| What was the experience like?
The experience of being in Parliament is exciting, because it’s where the big decisions in London are made.
| What do you want other young people to know?
I want them to know that there are ways to avoid the knife crime path, such as gaining life skills. Having the right life skills to help young people lead to employment opportunities.
I want young people to know that they are not alone. The majority of us wants to help young people to have a voice and make a positive impact.