Violence in the Community
Our policy stance and commitments
Violence has become an omnipresent topic across the news, social media and in political debates. Just type the word ‘violence’ in an internet search and you’ll end up with a ton of articles and news stories which together highlight how violence is now a huge public concern.
The Office for National Statistics recent publication showed an increase of 6% in violent incidences against a person and of that 105,000 victims being between the ages of 10-15 years old (Crime Survey for England and Wales, 2020). There is no wonder why politicians find it a real challenge to effectively resolve and address. violence in particular is a growing problem in the UK and often is linked to gang involvement, but it wider than that because you don’t need to be involved in a gang to suffer harm – physical, sexual or emotional. It has devastating effect on young people and their ability to achieve their potential. It also puts enormous strains on community cohesion and causes mistrust between young people and those around them. And this often leads to more conflict.
Leap along with other youth organisations, parents and young people worked together to influence the Home Office during the consultation on the 2018 Serious Violence Strategy, 2019 spending review and the creation of the Youth Endowment Fund (YEF). Whilst we were successful in committing the government and the YEF to prioritise early intervention programmes and initiatives as a solution to tackling violence in the community, the reality remains that more funding is given to punitive initiatives such as increasing the police force, police powers and prison places. More policing is not the answer and we believe the safest communities are not the ones with more policing, but with the most resources.
Skilled and trusted adults make communities more resilient against violence and best support young people. Our expertise is based on over 30 years’ innovating community programmes and training to increase young people and adults’ skills when working with conflict and/or violence in the community.
“I’m more alert now to situations, I used to stress about them but now I’m more relaxed to overcome them - before I used to be like a proper road girl, I used to be on the street, finding people on the streets having fights, and now I’ve stopped hanging out with certain people and I don’t believe in weapons anymore and all that.
WHERE OUR EXPERIENCE HAS TAKEN US
- Trained Community Initiative to Reduction Violence mentors, community support workers and ex-gang members as part of the Scotland Violence Reduction Unit mentors,
- Delivered conflict management training where empirical research identifies young people are most at risk of violence, for example pupil referral units, prisons, residential care homes
- Delivered training exploring the use and impact of knife crime to young people aged between 10 -15 across different London Boroughs.
- Since 2020, Leap has been a partner in the London Violence Reduction Unit programme to equip the next generation of youth leaders and practitioners.
Young people have a role in designing solutions to local issues
When young people are in positions of leadership and influence, they come up with kind, compassionate and creative solutions to the very big challenges they and their communities face. When we talked to young people about the big issues affecting them, key themes emerged. They told us they wanted Leap to support them
I strongly believe that funding preventative solutions that support young people to make positive choices would help society to save money overall as young people are given the tools to manage the many challenges that life throws at them. We would be solving the cause of the problem rather than the symptoms
Leap’s focus during 2020 – 2024 strategic period is to:
- create opportunities for young people to achieve their potential working with partners who share our values
- train and equip adults who are influential in the lives of young people to become effective ‘trusted’ and ‘skilled’ adults in their lives
- continue working in the heart of the community, alongside parents and community leaders
- co-create solutions and campaigns with Leap graduates and young ambassadors to ensure the upcoming spending review has young people and safer communities high on the agenda.
- advocate for more financial investment where communities are under resources and violence is prevalent
- advise Police and Crime Commissioners and Violence Reduction Units on how to develop holistic place-based model responsive to local needs and issues affecting young people
To keep informed on this policy area connect with our income and External Affairs team.