This seminar was a timely opportunity to examine the steps needed to tackle youth violence and knife crime, along with the progress made since the launch of the Serious Violence Strategy.
Areas for discussion included:
- The role of early intervention and support for vulnerable youths;
- Assessing the Serious Violence Strategy;
- Policing and resources;
- Multi-agency public health approaches; and
- The establishment and impact of Violence Reduction Units.
Delegates looked at key issues around early intervention and how best to safeguard vulnerable children and youths in the education system.
Delegates assessed the commitments and progress made so far, as well as issues around holding schools to account for the pupils they exclude. The discussion was also informed by the recent Ofsted report on safeguarding children in education from knife crime, which called for an increased role for local authorities in responding to and challenging permanent exclusions.
These attending considered the educational options and support provided for young offenders and excluded students, with discussion on the effectiveness and quality of alternative provision units, including how to raise attainment.
Delegates also looked at the role to be played by both government and community initiatives, such as youth zones, aimed at providing young people with social activities and skills development outside of education facilities.
With the Government allocating more than £220m to early intervention projects - including the Youth Endowment Fund and the Early Intervention Youth Fund - delegates assessed the priorities for where the investment should be directed and how to best develop the evidence-base for methods of prevention.
Delegates examined the requirements of the recently announced ‘public health duty’ for police, local councils, local health bodies, education representatives and youth offending services - including the adequacy of funding for these local bodies, how best to manage resources and how to ensure effective multi-agency working.
In light of the Home Secretary allocating £35m to Police and Crime Commissioners in 18 local areas badly affected by serious violence to set up violence reduction units, attendees considered the composition and role of these specialist organisations.