Yesterday we were invited down to City Hall as Sadiq Khan launched a new report addressing the adverse effect of social deprivation on Serious Youth Violence (SYV). During the Mayor’s speech, we were pleased to be recognised as one of the organisations doing excellent work within this space to improve a young person’s social/emotional regulation and their attitude to learning.
The Mayor’s speech honed in on the importance of being honest about the root causes of youth violence rather than turning to short term solutions that have historically failed to address the issue. As a result, the focus was shifted onto framing police cuts, insecure housing and work opportunities, school exclusions, and youth centre closures as key contributors to SYV. At FBB, we are an organisation based on working with young people to determine long term solutions. We pride ourselves on being an early interventions organisation that focuses on young people’s asset-based qualities. The speech demonstrated a clear alignment with our educational theory of change/approach as the Mayor also spoke on the effects of adverse childhood experiences and trauma on a young person’s social/emotional regulation. Statistical evidence highlighted that in 2019, 72% of homicide suspects in London were previously victims of knife violence. This was further supported by statistical evidence that stated that more than 75% of youth violence takes place in the 10 most deprived (out of 32) boroughs in London.
With this, it became clear that the Mayor valued the role that therapy long term youth provisions could play in enabling young people to develop self-awareness and social regulation that can enable them to express their emotions and seek positive role models in their lives. With an educational curriculum that is less receptive to change and the simultaneous reduction of youth services, the role of extracurricular service provision is a clear opportunity for the necessary/ therapeutic support to be implemented into a young person’s school schedule. The Mayor highlighted that most violent attacks on young people take place between 3 and 6 pm, a time period between a young person finishing from school and their parents returning home from work. As a local community service provider, we exist to occupy young people during this period of time with positive opportunities that seek to engage young people with their learning.
Whilst the report details a range of solutions that were put forward to reverse the numbers of SYV across boroughs in London, the main points the Mayor outlined began with an investment in community provisions through the Young Londoner’s Fund to ensure there are options for young people to engage in local communities. This would at the very least seek to directly affect the number of violent crime incidents that happen from 3-6pm. Through our Theory of Change, we have identified that young people need more opportunities and provisions in their communities to formulate positive role models and positive associations to their local areas. Equally, reducing the rate of exclusions in schools across the most deprived boroughs in London is another important solution to this ongoing issue. The Mayor highlighted the role school exclusions play in the social exclusion of young people in the community. There was a strong negative correlation recorded between the victims of SYV and a lack of educational attainment due to issues such as school exclusions. More investment in community and school provisions that help to keep young people in the classroom is key to ensuring young people have the options at their disposal to elevate themselves and develop a level of self-value and worth.
Finally, a key solution the Mayor identified was reversing public perceptions on youth violence and young people. Social media plays an important role in projecting negative public perceptions of young people, particularly from poorer boroughs. More needs to be done to ensure that young people are championed for their asset-based qualities that enable young people to achieve their potential and reverse levels of Serious Youth Violence in boroughs across London.
Our Head of Partnerships and Policy Joseph Watfa stated that “It was very encouraging to see the Mayor highlighting the key issues that affect young people’s social and emotional learning. At FBB, we are an early interventions community provision that operates between 3-6 PM for the young people that need opportunities to engage within their local communities. We believe that long-term solutions based engagement with young people is the key to forming trusting relationships with young people in the local community.”
If you want to read more about the Mayor’s report, please click the following link: https://data.london.gov.uk/dataset/a-public-health-approach-to-serious-youth-violence