Following on from my question to the Leader of the House on Thursday 17th September (which you can view here) I have today written to the Prime Minister to ask him to confirm he has read the Youth Violence Commission final report and to ensure that youth violence remains high on the agenda.
Here’s the text of my letter:
Re: Youth Violence Commission Final Report
As you will already be aware, I set up and continue to chair the cross-party Youth Violence Commission. After four years of intensive research and analysis, we published our final report in July of this year.
At Business Questions on Thursday 17th September I asked the Leader of the House to ensure that you had read the report. He said in response that he would make sure you had received your copy; in case you have not, it is available here on the Youth Violence Commission website: http://yvcommission.com/final-report/
I am writing today to ask you to ensure that youth violence does not drop off the agenda.
COVID-19 has presented an unprecedented threat and we were forced to consider its implications for our findings and recommendations. Over the past six months, millions of people have experienced extended periods of hardship. This has exacerbated existing social stressors – such as homelessness, unemployment, domestic abuse, depression, anxiety and trauma – and created new ones. We consider all of these social factors (and more) to play a part in youth violence, making our recommendations more crucial than ever.
We are also concerned about the impact COVID-19 will have on England and Wales’ 18 recently established Violence Reduction Units (VRUs). As our report demonstrates, the VRUs are set to play a pivotal role in the reduction of serious violence across the UK. Given the current situation, their funding must not only be maintained, but increased. It is vital that they do not fall victim to reductions in public spending.
Another serious concern is how schools will manage to support young people who are returning to their education after up to six months at home. We will not be able to assess the full impact of lockdown on young people’s mental health, attainment and attitude for a while, but it is likely that schools will face a lot of short to medium term challenges. Of course, they also face further disruption in the event of students testing positive or additional lockdown measures being imposed.
I thank you for taking the time to read this letter and look forward to receiving confirmation that you have also read our report.
If you would like to discuss our findings further, I would be very happy to arrange a meeting.
Vicky Foxcroft MP