Sir Keir Starmer pledged to tackle youth violence in a visit to social justice charity St Giles Trust, Camberwell, today. (Monday 24th April)
The Labour leader was welcomed by St Giles Trust, a national charity with a record of successfully finding solutions to complex social problems, including serious youth violence.
The visit started with a round table discussion hosted by Nicky Park, St Giles Trust Director of Women’s Services, focussing on the issue of violence against women and girls. The ONS has estimated 1.6 million women aged 16 to 74 years in England and Wales has experienced domestic abuse, around 7% of the female population1. St Giles Trust delivers an extensive range of services providing practical and emotional support to help women recognise signs of exploitation, develop resilience and pursue positive goals and aspirations.
Sir Keir then met with representatives from St Giles Trust Hospital Youth violence team, to discuss how their work has also helped to combat youth violence.
Since 2015, St Giles Trust has placed caseworkers in A&E and Major Trauma Centres across England, to provide support to young people admitted as a result of youth violence. A snapshot evaluation of this project found massive reductions in re-admission rates for serious youth violence, from 40% to 8%. The cost per young person supported is around £1,600.
Sir Keir also heard from staff working on the frontline in schools to prevent children and young people from becoming involved in weapons crime and serious violence. These school-based sessions are delivered across the country by trained professionals with lived experience of the criminal justice system in schools to encourage children to think critically, assess risk and make better life choices, making them more resilient to the risks of becoming groomed into gangs, criminal exploitation and violence. Over 105,000 young people have been reached by these sessions in the last year (figure relates to financial year 21/22).
To conclude the visit, Sir Keir visited the Camberwell Pantry, part of a network of seven subscription-based services run by the St Giles Trust, providing high quality, nutritious and healthy food to those struggling to feed themselves and their families, alongside support to address the barriers they are facing.
The need for this service has expanded massively during the cost of living crisis, with the crisis contributing to an increased risk of children being groomed into gangs. Addressing the cost-of-living crisis through services like the Pantry is part of the St Giles solution to serious youth violence.
Andy Cross, St Giles Trust Executive Director of Services said:
“We are delighted to welcome Keir Starmer to St Giles Trust, to share the breadth of services we have on offer which support vulnerable people in our community particularly in our recovery from the impact of the pandemic.”
ABOUT ST GILES
St Giles is an award-winning charity using expertise and real life past experience to empower people who are not getting the help they need – people held back by poverty, exploited, abused, dealing with mental health problems, caught up in crime or a combination of these issues. Many of the charity’s employees have been in the same circumstances and use their experiences to inspire and support those living through it right now.
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