Public health duty on youth violence

The new multi-agency duty aims to help spot the warning signs that a young person could be in danger, such as presenting at hospital A&E departments with a suspicious injury, to worrying behaviour at school or issues at home.

The joined-up approach could also include organisations jointly funding early intervention services to improve their coordination. This would be backed by legislation to make sure professionals in health, education, police, social services, housing and the voluntary sector work together and are held accountable for preventing and tackling serious violence.

Cllr Richard Watts, Chair of the LGA’s Resources Board, said: “If we are to stem the tide of tragic violence across the country there needs to be greater investment in services that protect and support young people, keeping them safe from the lure of gangs and county lines drug activity, or from becoming involved in serious crime.

“Youth offending teams within councils have an outstanding record of reducing youth crime and making a real difference to young people’s lives, but they are under huge pressure after seeing their government funding halved over the past decade.

“Children’s services are now starting more than 500 child protection investigations every day, but face a £3.1 billion funding gap by 2025. This is forcing councils to divert funding away from preventative services, such as youth work, into services to protect children who are at immediate risk of harm.

“To help stop young people being criminally exploited and drawn into knife crime, it is vital that government reverses years of funding cuts to local youth services, youth offending teams and councils’ public health budgets, which need to be addressed in the Spending Review.”

See www.local.gov.uk/councils-can or #CouncilsCan on Twitter for more on the LGA’s Spending Review campaign.

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