£10 million of investment has been secured to help deliver interventions for up to 2,500 children and young people at the greatest risk of serious violence in the capital.
London’s Violence Reduction Unit, working in partnership with London Councils and directors of children’s services, NHS Violence Reduction Programme and Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) providers has secured funding from the Home Office and the Youth Endowment Fund to deliver a targeted three-year programme of high intensity intervention to children aged 11-17 who are most at risk of being involved in violence or exploitation.
The programme will deliver Cognitive Behaviour Therapy – essentially a talking therapy that can help young people manage problems by breaking the cycle and changing the way they think and behave.
Funding will provide training for up to 100 qualified practitioners who are grounded in young people’s life experience. They will deliver therapy and support for young people in all 32 boroughs across London. Interventions will be targeted towards tackling social anxiety, trauma and supporting behavioural control.
It will provide opportunities to intervene earlier with young people identified by those working closely with them and therapy will be delivered by qualified practitioners supported by local CAMHS providers.
The VRU has also secured a further £500,000 to invest in ENGAGE and DIVERT – successful police custody programmes that support young adults to stay away from violence. As part of the programme, specially trained custody intervention coaches – who are not police officers – meet young people following their arrest at what is known as a ‘teachable moment’. They work to offer long-term support and guidance and develop plans that can lead to training, education and employment opportunities. New investment will help deliver the programme in a further two police custody suites – on top of 12 stations already delivering support for young adults, in all 12 Basic Command Units. The programme will also for the first time offer the DIVERT service within a magistrates court, as a further opportunity to provide support and guidance.
Cllr Jas Athwal, London Councils’ Executive Member for Crime and Public Protection, said:
“Early intervention is a vital priority across all boroughs to tackle violence. This funding will provide young people with tools to make better choices themselves and positively alter patterns of behaviour. It will also help services to support those most at risk of violence and exploitation across London.
“Children and young people most in need of high intensity therapeutic services are least likely to access them in a clinical setting and this crucial programme cuts through this barrier. By engaging constructively and positively within London’s diverse communities, we can help to reduce serious violence making our capital safer for young people and all Londoners.”
Lib Peck, Director of London’s Violence Reduction Unit, said:
“I am really pleased that our joint bid has helped secure £10 million of investment that will help deliver positive interventions for thousands of young people impacted by violence.
“No one single agency or organisation is going to reduce violence on its own, and that’s why the VRU is committed to working in partnership to deliver programmes to tackle violence and support our young people during challenging times in their lives. This successful bid is testament to that partnership work, alongside London Councils, the Association of London Directors of Children’s Services, the NHS Violence Reduction Programme and others.
“Last year alone, the VRU commissioned 126 programmes and projects which helped 80,000 young Londoners – this new funding will help provide support and positive opportunities for thousands of young people who need it most.
“We firmly believe that violence is preventable and not inevitable, and the VRU will continue to place our focus and investment in working with communities and being a voice and a champion for young people in London.”
Martin Griffiths, Clinical Director for the NHS London Violence Reduction Network, said:
“I am pleased that the Home Office have recognised the value and work of our joint public health approach to reducing violence within London by committing to this funding to offer Cognitive Behavioural Therapy to young people at the greatest risk.
“Today’s announcement will allow us to continue to invest in supporting young peoples’ ambitions, promote empowerment, and reduce vulnerability whilst always listening to their voices as we work together to keep our communities safe from violence, and exploitation.“