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Backbench Business — Gangs and Serious Youth Violence

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:43 pm on 3rd March 2016.

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Photo of Karen Buck Karen Buck Labour, Westminster North 12:43 pm, 3rd March 2016

I totally agree. We understand a great deal about what is going on, even with a changing dynamic, yet we are in danger of doing all the wrong things. We are scrapping youth intervention in some places; we are closing down the youth service in some places; we are cutting CAMHS and so many other areas of early intervention; and we are—fatally in my view—ensuring that services that work for children and young people who are at risk of gang involvement are short term and end quickly.

I believe two things. First, it takes a village to raise a child. Those of us who live in the city, which is diverse, mobile and disconnected, know that we have to build and rebuild that village every single day. Voluntary endeavour alone cannot do it: our village must include neighbourhood police and the youth service, the national health service, CAMHS and schools, as well as churches, mosques, voluntary groups and individual families. Secondly, we should treat gangs and serious youth violence as a public health emergency as much as a criminal justice matter. Mental health services are on the frontline of that battle.