A pioneering Government programme which supports young victims of crime in Lewisham, as well as helping them to keep themselves safe, will be rolled-out nationwide, Justice Minister Bridget Prentice announced today.
Around 13,000 young people at risk of becoming a victim of crime including anti-social behaviour, knife or gang related crime have already been reached through the work of five innovative pilots. These pilots also enable young victims to deal with the impact of a crime and move on with their lives. From today the Government is pledging a further half a million pounds to helping new projects learn from their success.
Working hand in hand with local communities, police, schools and voluntary groups, these pilots have identified the needs of their local young people and put in place a range of services, advice and tailor-made support.
Whilst visiting one of the successful pilots in Lewisham, Bridget Prentice said:
“Young people are more likely to experience crime than adults, and are also the least likely to report what has happened. This can often result in them not knowing where to go to access help.
“That is why programmes like this are so important. These pilots have already had great success, in less than one year, and demonstrate just what can be achieved when local communities, supported by Government and the police, pull together to tackle the issues they face.
“Lewisham, the project I am visiting today, is a model example of how we can help keep our young people safe, help those who have been a victim of crime re-build their lives and support them so they don’t turn to crime in response to being a victim.
“Now I want to encourage more communities across England and Wales to establish their own projects – using the success of these five pilots as an important guide.”
Part of the Youth Crime Action Plan, this programme encourages the police, local authority and voluntary sector to make a public pledge setting out what support will be provided to the young people within their communities by offering services ranging from workshops, drop-in sessions, school assemblies, music, sport and youth clubs to outdoor activity breaks and one-to-one support.
Chief Inspector Graham Price, Chair of the Lewisham Youth Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conference (MARAC) Board said:
“Young people are less likely to come forward and report crimes and therefore less able to access the existing wide network of support that is available. We’re determined to support young people if they do become victims of crime and our pledge to the young people of Lewisham sets out what they can expect.”
The Government’s Youth Task Force will now use the funding announced today to help other areas across England and Wales replicate the success of the five pilots.
Lewisham built on its existing provision for young victims of crime and established a Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conference (MARAC) for young victims of the most serious crimes.
Lewisham is one of the Youth Crime Action Plan priority areas who have received funding to develop a comprehensive package of measures to prevent and tackle youth crime through the triple-track approach of tough enforcement, non-negotiable support and prevention.