31 July 2019
On Wednesday 31st July, the Commons Home Affairs Committee published its final report into its Serious Youth Violence Inquiry. You can read the full report here and London Youth’s submission to the inquiry here.
Among other recommendations, the Committee is calling for:
The Government needs to introduce a fully-funded, statutory minimum of provision for youth outreach workers and community youth projects in all areas, co-designed with local young people. This would be a national Youth Service Guarantee, with a substantial increase in services and ringfenced funding from central Government. It should include enhanced provision in areas with higher-than-average risk factors linked to serious youth violence, such as under-25 knife crime and school exclusion. It must also be coupled with proper mental health provision for young people, informed by an understanding of the impact of trauma and other adverse childhood experiences.
In response to the report, Rosemary Watt-Wyness, our Chief Executive, said:
We strongly support the Commons Home Affairs Committee’s recommendation for major investment in local youth services and prevention work.
Cuts in youth services, policing, social welfare and CAMHS budgets are all linked to the rise in youth violence. Youth workers play a key role supporting young people directly involved with violence, as well as the vast majority who aren’t and are still very much affected by it.
London Youth and our 500+ community youth organisation members implore policy makers to invest in youth services as one foundation for children to grow into positive, focused young adults; not just as the antidote to the increase in youth violence and county lines.
It’s critical to remember that young people choose to attend youth clubs with other young people in their local area; to learn life skills and enjoy ‘play’ opportunities which build their confidence, resilience and self belief. Open access youth clubs welcome and work with all young people and the trust established with youth workers in these safe spaces is priceless.
Policymakers should recognise the need to invest in ongoing preventative youth work, taking place in the local community organisations where young people choose to be.