We may look at young people as violent, but they’re hurt, and they need aftercare.Ebi Iyere
Ebinehita 'Ebi' Iyere spoke the above words to The London Community Foundation’s supporters at last week’s event ‘The Violence Virus: the philanthropic response’. Ebi is Project Lead from Milk and Honey, a project supported by LCF, and her powerful message demonstrated the complexity of youth violence, now at an 8-year high in the capital, and the need for a long-term response.
We hosted the event following the publication of our report, The Violence Virus, in March – which featured voices from the front line tackling youth violence and the launch of ESDF Save London Lives, our latest programme in partnership with the Evening Standard.
The event included a panel discussion chaired by David Cohen, Investigations & Campaigns Editor of the Evening Standard and featured Dr Charlie Howard, MAC-UK Founder and Consultant Clinical Psychologist; Ebi Iyere, from Milk and Honey and Kate Markey, our Chief Executive. The panel discussed the root causes of youth violence and how grassroots organisations can be supported to respond.
What came out loud and clear from the panel is that what is needed is a long-term, collaborative approach that puts young people at its heart.
One thing that became clear is that policing on its own isn’t going to solve the problem. Nor is one year or two-year funding. Neither is box ticking. What is needed is a long-term strategy - 10, 15 years.Dr Charlie Howard
We also need to shift how we think about youth violence and young people as there can be a lot of stigma. Often today’s perpetrators are yesterday’s victims and, as Ebi explained above, how it’s easy to look at young people as violent, but they are often hurt and need aftercare.
If we change the term ‘serious young violence’ to ‘loss and bereavement’ then change will begin to happen.Ebi Iyere
It was also encouraging to hear David Cohen acknowledge that a lot of lessons have been learned through reporting on youth violence. There needs to be less sensationalism and that potentially more harm than good can result.
Another key is the power of community-based organisations. Working on the front line, they are the ones with the trust, knowledge and often the ability to reach the most vulnerable people.
The event also showcased organisations engaging with young people who are affected by youth violence. From Street Doctors using pints of Ribena to demonstrate the impact of blood loss; Academy Achievers displaying a robot they use to engage young people; High Trees highlighting oppression through their ‘Wall of Injustice’ to Juvenis and 4Front Project sharing their insights from the front line, attendees had the opportunity to hear about their work first hand.
Thank you to everyone who attended – it was truly an inspiring evening and we look forward to continuing the conversation.
London needs a whole London response to this issue. Community organisations are so frequently the first to respond, to identify changes in needs and be trusted by people at risk. LCF is committed to working in partnership with our supporters and other funders to work together to invest in London’s grassroots response.”Kate Markey, CEO of LCF