31st July 2019 – As the Home Office Committee release a major new report on serious youth violence today, Yvonne Lawson, Founder of the Godwin Lawson Foundation, reiterates the call for a ‘Youth Service Guarantee’ to protect young people from the growing epidemic. Yvonne, gave evidence to the committee and explained the impact of her son’s Godwin death, which features in the report.
The Home Affairs Committee says the rise in serious youth violence is a social emergency, and that young people have been failed in the most devastating way, losing their lives as a result. In the report the Committee made up of MP’s from all parties says that the Government’s Serious Violence Strategy is a completely inadequate response to the wave of violence blighting our communities. The Committee is calling for:
- Stronger focus, leadership and direction from the Government and Prime Minister, and an accountable leader in every local area reporting to the Prime Minister on action to bring serious violence down.
- Major investment in local youth services and prevention work – including a new ‘Youth Service Guarantee’ to help prevent young people from becoming caught up in violence.
- Urgent action to tackle county lines – including stronger local safeguarding plans.
- Substantial additional resources for policing.
- All schools in areas with an above-average risk of youth violence to have dedicated police officers.
- Action to cut school exclusions and end the part-time timetables in alternative education provision.
Yvonne says “Up until now, despite good intentions, we have seen a very disjointed approach to the issue of serious youth violence. I welcome the findings of this comprehensive report and the Committee’s call to action for all parties – whether government, police, outside agencies, charities, youth services and local community groups – to work together in a more cohesive manner. At the GLF we believe in a public health approach and would like to see the government follow through on the recommendations for more police, local accountable representatives, better funding for youth services and prevention work, and a specific response to cutting school exclusions. We are seeing more and more children are being excluded, as the system gives up on young people causing dire consequences. We can’t wait any longer – the time to act is now”