14 March 2019
London Youth supports the Chancellor’s announcement of £100 million of additional funding to tackle youth violence around the country, as a step towards a delivering a safer city for young Londoners.
Since the publication of last year’s Serious Violence Strategy, we have been calling on the Government to adopt a public health approach which puts early intervention and prevention at its heart. We therefore welcome the announcement of Violent Crime Reduction Units in the Spring Statement.
Since the Mayor of London’s announcement of a London Violence Reduction Unit, we have worked closely with City Hall to ensure that the voices of young people, youth professionals and youth organisations from our membership are heard. We make the same offer to work with the Home Office and to connect them with our membership of over 450 youth organisations, located in every borough across London.
While police are a part of reducing the tragically high levels of violence, enforcement is not the single solution to this problem. The work of the Youth Violence Commission has shown the roots of violence in our communities are deep and that there are no quick solutions. To end violence, we must take determined and bold action in addressing poverty, reducing the disparities experienced by people from many backgrounds, and providing more positive and meaningful opportunities for all young people.
Youth organisations and youth work professionals have always been committed to being part of the solution to tackling youth violence. With local knowledge and trusted relationships in every community in London, youth workers are uniquely placed. They are the ones providing day to day frontline support to young people caught up in violence.
Since 2012, London Youth has been running our Tackling Youth Violence Network to connect youth professionals from our membership with youth violence specialists and policymakers working in this area. We do this because we truly believe the only solution is one that includes all stakeholders working together.
To be able to transform the lives of young people, youth organisations need the resources and investment to keep delivering high-quality services. Since 2011/12, at least 800 full-time youth workers have been lost and £39 million less is spent just by local authorities every year on youth services across the capital.
We re–emphasise our call for a serious and sustained partnership that recognises the critical role youth organisations will play in tackling youth violence in London, alongside the police and other statutory services.
Rosemary Watt-Wyness, Chief Executive of London Youth said:
“I welcome the Chancellor’s commitment of significant additional funding to tackle youth violence around the country. Ensuring that all of our young people can grow up in safety should be the top priority of every policymaker.
I do have concerns that the approach outlined in the Spring Statement focuses too heavily on the role of police and enforcement, and not enough on the complex root causes of poverty and the lack of positive opportunities for our young people.
Given the majority of young perpetrators have themselves been the victims of violence, an enforcement approach alone will not end violence or heal the trauma in our communities.
I cannot overstate how important it is for every single young person in London to have a place close by where they feel safe and supported. Community youth organisations provide this.
That is why the Chancellor must ensure that this year’s Spending Review includes a heavy reinvestment in youth work and the future of young Londoners”.
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