Redthread’s response to the Serious Violence Strategy

April 10th, 2018

We welcome the Home Office’s focus on serious violence in this week’s announcement of the Serious Violence Strategy. Last month, we hosted Home Office Ministers Victoria Atkins MP and Nick Hurd MP at St Mary’s Hospital, where they met some of our front-line staff and spoke to them about our work with vulnerable young people in the Emergency Department. We are grateful to the Home Office for their support of our work and upcoming expansion to Nottingham and Birmingham this year.

We particularly welcome the support for prevention through the Early Intervention Youth Fund. Our youth health hub, The Well Centre is a safe space for young people to drop in and see a GP, counsellor and youth worker all under one roof. Through the Early Intervention Youth Fund, we hope that early intervention schemes like The Well Centre will now have the necessary funding and resources to support young people before they reach crisis point.

Whilst health-based interventions and early intervention work are important, we believe that strong partnerships and collaboration are key to tackling the issue of serious youth violence. At Redthread, we campaign for a public health approach to tackling violence. This approach means treating violence as a disease; analyse the causes, diagnose the problem, look at what works to treat the symptoms and develop solutions that can be scaled up nationwide.

We are pleased the Home Secretary has committed to tackle serious youth violence and as the secretariat of the APPG on knife crime alongside Barnardo’s, we are encouraged to see that a joined-up cross-government approach is at the centre of the new strategy. However, a public health approach combines resources from the police, health, education and the community to create long-term attitudinal change in society rather that treating serious violence just as a criminal justice issue.

We think for the strategy to have a meaningful, lasting impact, the Department of Health and Department for Education need to commit, in the same way the Home Office has, to tackle serious youth violence. It is important that we move away from working in silos, and move towards a more joined up approach to support our young people.

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