“Keeping people safe is the first duty of government”
Youth violence is more important than political differences. I am pleased to be working with Vicky Foxcroft MP who has set up a cross-party commission of 6 MP’s, which will give this debate the recognition it deserves. The aim is to understand how violence manifests itself and what factors influence young people. Youth consultation is imperative to form effective solutions and policy recommendations. At the moment I am doing what I can to help the Youth Violence Commission by adding my thoughts on causes and solutions.
In 2016 10 young people were killed:
- Moamen Settar 18
- Lance Scott Walker 18
- Ziggy Worrell-Owusu 19
- Andre Aderemi 19
- Leoandro Osemeke 16
- Andrew Oteng-Owusu 19
- Folajimi Michael Orebiyi 17
- Matthew Kutandure 18
- Myron Issac Yarde 17
- Munashi Charles Kutyaurippo 16
Youth violence is an issue that plagues many families and communities. I have been devastated by the death toll of young people. Each death is a tragedy, which with the right understanding can be avoided.
Root causes include traumas in childhood, the lack of support for parenting, the influence of peer groups and social and cultural norms. As do poverty, deprivation and mental health. The existing interventions and previous tactics used to address youth violence have been inconsistent. It is necessary to use expertise provided by those who tirelessly work to address these issues.
There needs to be improved access to mental health care particularly CAMHS (Child and adolescent mental health services). We know that early intervention can prevent later violent behaviour. Employment workshops, apprenticeships, life skills programmes in schools and communities are all possible solutions. Schools are an opportunity to identify early pressures on young people particularly for gang involvement.
To provide these vital local solutions, funding and cuts need to be addressed. The Commission will take recommendations to Westminster to secure the funding to maintain and improve these services.
In practice the Commission should be a hub of ideas collated from as many people as possible. The experiences of victims and their families should be heard and considered. As well as from gang members, the public and a range of experts.
There is a lot of trauma within our communities and it is only by working together that we can begin to heal and stop the needless violence.
Together we can break the cycle.
If you would like to be involved or have your say please register your interest via www.youthviolencecommission.org or you can tweet me/fill in the contact form on my site.