Southwark Youth Violence Panel

17 July 2019

The Southwark Youth Violence Panel has called for more to be done to reduce school exclusions as a key way to prevent young people getting involved in crime.

This is just one of a number of recommendations that the panel has identified as its findings were presented to Cabinet last night.

The panel was established to investigate local concerns and the root causes of youth violence and to explore possible solutions. The panel was keen to focus on identifying evidence-based, community-focused, long-term actions that could feed into the council’s work.

Speaking about the panel, Cllr Evelyn Akoto, Cabinet Member for Community Safety and Public Health said: “This panel has been an important forum for ideas and voices to be heard. What this panel exemplifies is that we all have a role in making young people and communities feel safer. I am also proud that alongside colleagues from different political parties we have had two eloquent and thoughtful young people as members of the panel. They have both brought personal experience which is so important for a project of this nature.”

Over the course of six meetings between December 2018 and April 2019 the panel heard from a range of people from the community, voluntary sector, perpetrators and victims of youth violence and professionals about serious youth violence and its impacts. 
Key recommendations include:

  • Collective action to reduce school exclusions and ensure they are used as a last resort
  • Review how children are supported during the move from primary school to secondary school to ensure every child who needs one has the offer of a support package
  • All future services should have young people’s voices at the heart of their consultation and design processes
  • Work with the community, faith groups, voluntary sector, parents and Tenants and Residents Associations to build resilience and address the trauma of serious youth violence through an all community trauma informed approach

Alongside the recommendations a number of key themes emerged has having a direct relationship with youth violence and knife crime. A number of those who spoke before the panel identified school exclusion as the beginning of a slippery slope into crime, gangs and lack of self esteem and individual value to society.

The need to better identify the stress and pressures on young people’s mental health.

Locally Southwark has seen a consistent decline in knife crime offences over the past nine months. Likewise, for the 12 months ending April 2019 Southwark has seen an 8 per cent reduction in the number of knife crime offences compared to the previous 12 months.

Cllr Akoto added: “The panel has made some really important recommendations and I am keen to see that these are implemented into the council’s work going forward. In Southwark, we have all seen the damage that has been caused by knife crime particularly and I am determined that Southwark Council will play a key part in working toward a solution.”

Page last updated: 17 July 2019