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Working together to reduce serious youth violence
WAVE Conference for the 33 London boroughs 20 November 2007

Summary of key themes and main messages

Ita Walsh WAVE Trust April 2008

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‘I believe this issue, the subject of this conference, is a great challenge for practitioners of the many disciplines represented here: each discipline may have another significant challenge to face within its own professional world: but I believe reducing serious youth violence is the great challenge, in our generation, which we face collectively together.’
Sir Ian Blair

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Preface
In November 2007 the Wave Trust and the Metropolitan Police Service joined together to invite over 250 delegates from the public and third sectors to attend a conference focussed on identifying and tackling the roots of violence. The Commissioner, Sir Ian Blair, signalled the MPS commitment to reducing violence in London by giving the opening address at the conference. As the lead officer for the MPS Youth Strategy, I know that serious youth violence and the risks it poses to young people are the cause of grave concern amongst professionals and communities across London. The Wave Trust are leading the way in developing new thinking on how to tackle the roots of violence. Together with colleagues from the Wave Trust, we recognise that the challenge of tackling serious violence is not one for the police service alone. This report summarises the critically important issues debated by delegates at the November 2007 conference, and makes a series of cogent recommendations that flow from the conference. We are committed to examining how we can progress these recommendations in order to make London a safer city. Effective and enduring partnerships across the public sector and third sectors, and with non-governmental organisations, are essential if real and lasting change is to be secured. Rose Fitzpatrick Deputy Assistant Commissioner Metropolitan Police WAVE Trust was set up in 1996 with the goal of reducing violence and child abuse. Our approach has been to apply proven business strategy methods to this huge challenge. Nine years of research into the root causes of violence, and global best practice in tackling those root causes, were recorded in our report Violence and what to do about it, published in October 2005. We are committed to finding truly effective ways of making society less violent, and this conference to address serious youth violence – with the influential support of the Metropolitan Police – is another step along the path. Both our previous research and the conference conclusions indicate that while much can be done to alleviate the problem in the short-term, a city dedicated to achieving a sustained reduction in levels of violence must adopt measures unlikely to show their full benefits until 5-15 years after the initial commitment. This reality conflicts with the constant political imperative for short-term results, since governments both national and local are elected for only a few years. This pressure, combined with a natural dislike of increasing taxation, too often makes investment in the long-term an unattractive political option. To make London a safer city we must redress this balance. This calls for leaders willing to step beyond their short-term interests and to take a stand for the quality of society in which our children and grandchildren will grow up. This report sets out a blueprint to reduce serious youth violence in London. What is now needed for success is for those leaders to step forward. George Hosking Chief Executive WAVE Trust

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Speakers
Dr Sean Cameron Pillars of Parenting Prof Jonathan Crego School of Psychology University of Liverpool Sir Ian Blair Commissioner Metropolitan Police Prof Friedrich Lösel Institute of Criminology University of Cambridge Dr Suzanne Zeedyk Senior Lecturer in Psychology University of Dundee Dr Denny Grant Principal Educational Psychologist London Borough of Enfield Dr Theo Gavrielides Head of Policy Race on the Agenda Camila Batmanghelidjh Founder Kids Company Lord Victor Adebowale Chair London Youth Crime Prevention Board DCS John Carnochan Head Scottish Violence Reduction Unit George Hosking CEO WAVE Trust Commander Shaun Sawyer Commander Violent Crime Directorate Metropolitan Police Brojo Pillai Strategy Consultant WAVE Trust

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Introduction
‘…other than the threat from terrorism, violence by young people on young people is the

most significant cause of fear and concern about community safety in this city’
Sir Ian Blair’s words sum up the seriousness of the challenge leading to this exploration of ideas for effective action against the blight of violence on our society. The immediate history to the Conference was the 2005 WAVE Report Violence and what to do about it, which led to the 2006 WAVE Think Tank of the same name, attended by academic and practical experts from the UK, Europe and the USA, and 50 leading UK civil servants, police officers and charity CEOs. The Think Tank generated optimism that solutions could be found, and led to the Metropolitan Police proposing that WAVE host a conference on serious youth violence in London, for the London boroughs. Participants were invited from the Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnerships (CDRPs), police teams from all the London boroughs and representatives from London schools. 300 people attended. The Conference was sponsored by the Metropolitan Police, the Metropolitan Police Authority, the Safer London Foundation and Pillars of Parenting. Purpose of the Conference The stated purpose of the conference was: 3. To recommend a comprehensive set of actions to achieve a significant reduction in serious youth violence. 4. To propose the next steps in creating a comprehensive strategy and action plan for London. Pre-Conference research and consultation Pre-Conference work by WAVE included research into global best practice in tackling gang violence as well as the collection and analysis of delegates’ suggestions for effective measures to bring about a significant reduction in youth violence. Structure of the Conference After Dr Sean Cameron had set the scene, Jonathan Crego explained the 10,000 Volts system. Sir Ian Blair then made his opening address, followed by the presentations of the guest experts from around the world. George Hosking presented his summary of the pre-Conference consultation back to the original contributors, and Brojo Pillai presented a summary of research on measures to reduce serious gang violence in the USA. Anatomy of violence To re-cap on WAVE’s original research, violence arises when two factors converge: the propensity to be violent and a trigger to ignite that propensity. Long-term measures for a drastic reduction in violence need to encompass avoiding creating the propensity. The broad consensus of the Conference was that, in the shorter-term, improvements can be achieved by addressing the triggers (such as alcohol consumption, family breakdown, unemployment, economic inequality) that produce violence in people who already have the propensity towards it.

‘To work together to identify the key actions needed to lead to a significant reduction in levels of serious youth violence in London’
The commitment to achieving such a reduction is core to this report. Purpose of the report 1. To recount the main points from preConference work, the day itself and the feedback from delegates. 2. To highlight the key themes and messages from the conference.

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However, real and lasting improvement will come only from long-term actions to prevent the development of propensity to violence. The two top areas for action emerging from the pre-Conference consultation reflected this dual approach: 41% of suggestions related to longer-term early prevention and child protection measures and 30% to shorter-term youth-focused remedies. The remainder was split between 16% for remedies which address violence in schools and 13% focused on methods to make what we do about the problem work better, e.g. in inter-agency partnership. Proposals From this background and the subsequent Conference work, an holistic strategy with the following 4 main components emerged: 1. A long-term Primary Prevention strategy, focused on 0-5 year olds, explained in Theme A (page 11) and supported by a major change in the (currently under-utilised) role of Health, outlined in Theme B (page 18); 2. A medium-term Secondary Prevention strategy, focused on 6-16 year olds, to unlock the power of schools to deflect children who are already on the pathway to violence, outlined in Theme C (page 21); 3. A short-term strategy, focused on youth activities and behaviour outside of school, recommending how to tackle gangs and youth problems on the street (Theme D, page 26); 4. Enabling and support measures in the form of a change in focus of Criminal

Justice (Theme E, page 33), and better multi-agency working and a proactive 20-year strategy by government (Theme F, page 35). Terminology Prevention: Whenever we refer to primary prevention, i.e. a protective action before any damaging symptoms of propensity to violence have developed, it will be written Prevention with an initial capital. Exclusion: Whenever the terms ‘exclusion’ or ‘excluded’ refer to formal School Exclusion they are spelt with an initial capital. 10,000 Volts: This was Professor Jonathan Crego’s system of linked laptop computers enabling delegates to exchange thoughts and ideas throughout the day. ‘At risk’ register: Throughout this report there is reference to the ‘at risk’ register. In April 2008, as part of the development of the Integrated Children’s System (ICS), the government has decided that there is no need for local authorities to keep a separate Child Protection Register. The ICS will include all of the functions of the Child Protection Register (CPR). Once ICS has been introduced and tested, the CPR will be phased out. The tasks previously performed by the CPR remain a part of the ICS. All procedures to help keep children safe and to respond to situations when there is concern that a child may have suffered significant harm remain the same. From April 2008 where previously there was reference to a child being on the CPR, now the reference will be to a Child subject to a Child Protection Plan.

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Executive Summary
Key themes and main messages
Theme A (pp.11-17) – Early child protection measures focused on Prevention are by far our most effective (and cost-effective) weapons to combat the development of people with a propensity to be violent Exploring the proactive, long-term strategy needed to stop youths of the future growing up with a propensity to be violent. This theme focuses largely on Primary Prevention (i.e. warding off the initial onset of a disease or unwanted occurrence) • • • • Message 1: As well as being an urgent youth issue, the problem of gangs is in large part a child protection issue that requires early prevention Message 2: The earlier the intervention, the better Message 3: Empathy is the best known antidote to violence and needs to be fostered in young children Message 4: Radically improve early parenting and care both (a) within families and (b) in the Care Home system

Theme B (pp.18-20) – Place Public Health at the heart of the drive to reduce violence Placing the strategic focus developed in Theme A in the logical context for delivery of Primary Prevention • • Message 5: Health is the only agency naturally involved with children from before birth until age 3 Message 6: Shift the focus from Criminal Justice after the fact to Health before the fact

Theme C (pp.21-25) – Give schools a key role in deflecting children from a pathway to youth violence Proposing measures to reduce youth violence in London by harnessing the power of schools to influence pathways in life. This theme focuses largely on Secondary Prevention • • • Message 7: Expand Education’s role to include emotional as well as academic development Message 8: Schools can greatly reduce dysfunctional behaviour, anger, bullying and violence Message 9: Violent crime can be reduced by appropriate alternatives to School Exclusion

Theme D (pp.26-32) – Provide young people with the support they need to become healthy, successful, pro-social citizens Exploring ways the community can more effectively support and protect young people to help them tread a pro-social pathway to maturity • • • • Message 10: There is an urgent need to improve the level and quality of youth support at street level Message 11: Tackle the trigger factors making youngsters particularly vulnerable (e.g. being unoccupied, high alcohol consumption, family breakdown and social disadvantage) Message 12: Consult and involve young people to find solutions to gang violence Message 13: Parents and the wider community can help reduce violence by working with agencies and services to protect young people

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Message 14: We need to provide more facilities and activities to fulfil young people’s need to be occupied and challenged

Theme E (pp.33-34) – Shift the focus within Criminal Justice to Prevention and Rehabilitation Exploring how Criminal Justice can play its part to support a more holistic approach to the problem of violence by focusing attention on what works best in the long-term as well as taking care of the immediate needs of policing and containment • • Message 15: Need for greater Police focus on Prevention Message 16: Need for radical shift towards prison as rehabilitation

Theme F (pp.35-40) – Shift government strategy to proactive, long-term funding and planning to reduce violence Looking at the implications of shifting from the present reactive, ‘fire-fighting’ approach to the proactive, strategic approach needed to deliver on the recommendations that emerged from the Conference • • • Message 17: Long-term success will take a shift to long-term planning and funding Message 18: Importance of what we measure because ‘what gets measured gets managed’ Message 19: True inter-agency partnership plus strong local leadership are essential for success

Note: because their presentations have been re-ordered into the above themes and messages, speakers’ names have been highlighted each time they are quoted.

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Recommendations
These recommendations were summarised from the suggestions of delegates and speakers and are presented under the Theme headings A-F. A – Early child protection measures focused on Prevention are by far our most effective (and cost-effective) weapons to combat the development of people with a propensity to be violent 1) Progressively reverse the current spending pattern to focus Prevention expenditure on the very earliest years (pregnancy to 18 months) where it is most effective and economic. 2) Foster attunement and empathy from the first months of life by focusing proven interventions on the 10% most ‘at risk’ children and families. This will involve the development of explicit systems of early identification, intervention, support and monitoring for socially excluded families. 3) Radically improve parenting standards through innovative measures to make parenting programmes an accepted routine for people with 0-3 year old children. 4) Teach parenting to children still at school, to ensure they know how to attune with and foster empathy in their babies in the future. Needs of cared-for children not met 5) Redesign Care Home systems to ensure they do what it takes to heal the effects of prior neglect, abuse and rejection. Significantly reduce the inequality of opportunity experienced by children in care. 6) Provide professional psychological support for adopting, fostering and residential carers to ensure they can (a) form secure attachments with children and (b) help them deal with prior trauma. B – Place Public Health at the heart of the drive to reduce violence 7) Develop tightly integrated strategies between Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) and local authorities so that all ‘at-risk’ infants are identified before birth, and they and their families receive focused support until the children reach school age. 8) Put in place excellent antenatal and postnatal mental health services specifically to support mothers and fathers to address such challenging issues as depression and domestic violence which arise in the time surrounding births, and which can interact with other complex factors such as mental health problems, alcohol and drug abuse. 9) Radically increase the therapeutic resources available within Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) specifically for the mental health of 0-5 year olds. C – Give schools a key role in deflecting children from a pathway to youth violence School curriculum 10) Teach parenting and relationship skills within the standard school curriculum, covering both attuning with and fostering empathy in babies (e.g. through Roots of Empathy) (repeat of Recommendation 4) and improving the child’s own emotional literacy, e.g. through Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning (SEAL). 11) Develop alternative, more vocational, curricula in secondary schools for children who are not academically orientated, especially those on the cusp of gang and group offending. 12) Elevate social and life skills to an importance approaching that of academic achievement.

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Preventing offending 13) Require schools to maintain visible, transparent systems to identify and monitor all school violence. 14) Adopt effective bullying management systems in schools that also address the longerterm implications of bullying, that: (i) perpetrators are significantly at risk of future offending, and (ii) victims are vulnerable to long-term harm. 15) Deliver proven anger management programmes in schools, and ensure the successful participation of children who have anger issues. 16) Introduce good quality conflict management training for teachers. 17) Place police officers in all secondary schools, to work in partnership with the schools and carry out preventive work with their feeder primary schools. 18) Set up a system to assess school children with social and emotional issues for PostTraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and ensure resources are available to treat it early. 19) Set high standards to be achieved by Pupil Referral Units (PRUs) and resource them accordingly. Invest in highly skilled teams to create significant and enduring shifts in outcomes for pupils. 20) Radically reduce truancy and school Exclusion (including ‘back door exclusion’) by running proven programmes, e.g. Dorset Healthy Alliance and Toronto Regent’s Park. D – Provide young people with the support they need to become healthy, successful, pro-social citizens 21) Radically increase the current ratio of youth support workers to youths; and improve the quality of these workers through appropriate selection, training and remuneration. 22) Adopt the two-pronged approach of strong social work support coupled with toughness on the really criminal element used in successful US anti-gang violence programmes. 23) Provide intensive support for identifiable ‘at risk’ young people before they become criminalised. 24) Take vigorous steps to improve employment prospects for young people, especially those from disadvantaged ethnic minorities, when they leave school. 25) Form a carefully considered strategy to reduce alcohol consumption by young people and then set up a community drive to support its delivery. 26) Working with supportive figures in the media, initiate a programme to provide effective non-violent role models for young people. 27) Reverse the trend of recent years and greatly increase the availability of youth clubs and other activity facilities for young people in London. Work with their natural desire to band into groups. 28) Ensure facilities include significant ‘development’ components such as art, sport, education or skills, and acknowledge and support youngsters’ need for challenge. 29) Significantly improve employment opportunities for those already out of school but unemployed by e.g. developing relationships with businesses in the community to provide employment opportunities for unemployed ‘at risk’ youths. 30) Co-ordinate the resources of the community and voluntary sectors to support and protect ‘at risk’ youths, especially those engaged, or at risk of being engaged, in teenage onset violence. 31) Provide specialised support, including assessment for and treatment of PTSD, for disadvantaged children from war-torn regions. E – Shift the focus within Criminal Justice to Prevention and Rehabilitation Shift the focus within Police to Prevention 32) Shift the time balance of police officers to place more emphasis on prevention and less on form-filling. 33) Be tough on the hardened criminals, drug and gun dealers, but take care to identify the vulnerable lone children at the front end who need to be on the ‘at risk’ register.

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34) Place police officers in all secondary schools, to work in partnership with the schools and carry out preventive work with their feeder primary schools (repeat of Recommendation 17). Shift the focus within Prisons to Rehabilitation 35) For violent prisoners, fund proven rehabilitation programmes on a large scale. 36) Continue to expand the use of restorative justice. F – Shift government strategy to proactive, long-term funding and planning to reduce violence 37) Enlist Government support in creating a 20-year violence reduction strategy for London, with adequate funding for early protection of all ‘at risk’ children. 38) Track ‘at risk’ children from pre-birth through to leaving school to ensure they are treated in a way that fosters empathy and pro-social development. 39) Develop more comprehensive Public Service Agreements (PSAs) related to early prevention, with short term measurable proxies. 40) Embed short-term measures of strategic progress in long-term strategies, to fit comfortably within the 2-3 year time horizons of day-to-day decision-makers. 41) Start to measure and address all violence, not just what is classified as Criminal. 42) Evaluate the merits of a focused National Violence Prevention Agency to coordinate, fund and drive effective Prevention strategies or, if not adopted nationally, consider creating a London Violence Prevention Agency. Engage everyone involved in true inter-agency partnership and encourage strong local leadership 43) Foster a culture that rewards strong, courageous leadership rather than always playing safe by managing strictly along traditional lines. 44) Produce a user-friendly guide to ensure everyone involved in multi-agency partnerships has a much clearer understanding of the roles of different agencies. 45) Structure the reward schemes of community and multi-agency partnerships to acknowledge the achievement of alliance goals, to encourage close collaboration on producing results beneficial to all concerned.

Next Steps
• Create 4 small (5-6 strong) London working groups representing CDRPs, Police, Health, Schools, Government Office for London (GOL) and academic research, to focus on each of the major themes: 1. 2. 3. 4. • Primary prevention and early intervention Health Schools Youth support

Charge these groups with producing detailed action plans for London, based on the findings of the Conference; the process to include consultation with a representative sample of London boroughs and agreeing plans with the MPA, Metropolitan Police and GOL. Use the outputs from this work to formulate a comprehensive action plan for London by end September 2008.

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Theme A – Early child protection measures focused on Prevention are by far our most effective (and cost-effective) weapons to combat the development of people with a propensity to be violent As well as exploring ways to reduce current youth violence (see Theme D), the Conference put great emphasis on finding ways to prevent it from happening among future generations. In this context, with 65 mentions, ‘Early Intervention/child protection’, was one of the two top preConference delegate recommendations. It was also echoed repeatedly by the Speakers and was a major message from the 10,000 Volts workshop. Research confirms that early child protection measures focused on Prevention are by far our most effective (and costeffective) weapons to combat the development of people with a propensity to be violent. Message 1: The problem of gangs is in large part a child protection issue that requires early prevention Youth violence is part of a cycle that encompasses all aspects of family life, especially parenting and family breakdown, and is both a cause and an effect. While many factors contribute, the most serious causes are abuse, neglect and poor parenting skills. Sir Ian Blair captured the difficulty of tackling gang or youth violence in isolation:

Importance of self-referral – encouraging
even the youngest of children to self-refer overcomes the flawed notion in the delivery of services that there is a responsible carer in the lives of vulnerable children to take them to appointments (when the carers are the very people causing the harm).

In-school therapeutic work is currently
set up in response to requests and carried out by a team of 20-25 including trainee social workers, psychotherapists, health workers – and artists, musicians and grandmothers who love children. Within each school (in addition to such activities as alternative health therapies, art and drama clubs, bereavement groups, anti-bullying groups), 60 children can receive weekly oneto-one therapy, and social work intervention is provided for some 100 children a year.

Street level centres, where young people
also self-refer. The model is 25-30 duty staff and 200-300 children visiting per day. Support includes everything from buying essentials – 68% are homeless – to trying to stabilise their lives. The typical arrival is an 11 or 12-year-old boy or girl, who has been run as a drug courier or in prostitution, and has been out of school for a number of years.

‘We need … to understand gang membership to be a child protection issue. If you have a 17-year-old gang member with involvement in serious violence, firearms, heavy drug use, etc., then what is the likely future of his or her 12-year-old brother or sister? That is a family protection issue and it has to be grasped. That child is as much at danger as a child who is in danger of emotional, sexual, or physical abuse’
Camila Batmanghelidjh on child protection What follows is a paraphrased summary of part of Camila’s overview of the work of her charity Kids Company to help and protect the most vulnerable inner-city children in London:

Lone children and the cycle of violence
Camila then moved on to analyse the problem. Chronically abused and neglected behind closed doors, these children were years in the making and, in effect, drive the culture of violence at street level. Their history has deprived them of a self-calming, self-soothing repertoire and has led to overprogramming the emotional centres of their brains. The storing of horrific memories is compounded by the release of vast amounts of adrenalin and stress hormones. The result is a young child whose understanding of the world is one in which he is responsible for his own survival. He sees his own life as completely worthless and therefore it becomes very easy to take the next step and eradicate someone else’s quality of life or someone else’s existence. In a world where you have to be self-centred and fight to

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survive, savagery becomes the currency, meaning the violence of these children is neither random nor irrational, but an appropriate construct based on their life experiences. In these conditions, Camila said, many thousands of children cannot be blamed for turning to crime to survive their childhood. This route emerges out of the savagery of adults who refrain from paying attention to child protection and child mental health issues, who avoid the task of dealing with these issues robustly. We need to prevent the development of propensity to violence

Different parts of the infant brain develop at different rates with critical ‘sensitive’ windows along the way. One such window relates to learning language, and is the reason learning a new language is more difficult to as we get older. The critical window for emotional skills is 0-18 months.

A strong dose of love, early on, prevents violence later on, and vice versa
These were the opening words of Dr Suzanne Zeedyk, and what follows is a paraphrased summary of part of her presentation: The reason early conditions are so crucial in fostering emotional health, and avoiding the development of propensity to violence, is that children’s brains reflect the world they live in. If their world is one of trauma, fear and chaos, their brains develop to cope with that environment. Baby humans are born premature relative to other mammals, because evolution faced a difficult choice: for humans to be born with heads as large relatively as other mammals, women would have to have hips too wide to allow them to run away from danger. So evolution compromised by allowing infant brain (and skull) development to take place outside the womb. Although this makes babies relatively helpless, it gives humans a huge degree of flexibility. It also makes us very sensitive to trauma. Human infants come into the world already tuned into (and with a reflex to mimic) the facial expressions of those around them. This wonderful advantage turns into a disadvantage whenever it is met by the long-term lack of positive expression on the nearest face, and the result is a withdrawn child who doesn’t understand others will interact with it, a child who is unlikely to grow up to be happy. The above slide from Bruce Perry’s work in the States shows what happens if you don’t have a positive interaction. The smaller of the two brains on the scan is of a child who received little reinforcement or interaction, and reveals graphically what happens from extreme neglect. Brains are affected by experience. Note also the higher proportion of dark areas, parts of the brain which have failed to develop in the neglected child. 3 circles of street violence Camila Batmanghelidjh described the model of street crime as three concentric circles: From the central circle the professional drug dealer/criminal looks into the community to recruit from the second circle, of lone vulnerable children. These lone children then run the drugs to the third circle, made up of ‘imitator’ children, who are relatively well cared-for, but have become aggressive to survive the conditions created by those in the two inner circles.

Dealing with lone children and the cycle of violence
When a youngster from this background moves into the outside world, Camila described society’s second opportunity to meet his needs: Social care agencies could step in and give him another chance at reparation and recovery. At this point he has two possibilities: does society have something to offer to enable him to have his humanity

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affirmed and to have a chance in life, or does the drug dealer offer him that, in a perverse but more efficient way? In many of our inner cities, said Camila, the drug dealer does a better social care job than we do in our agencies.

lowest social class in society, any ethnic group, anything you could think of… the earlier the aggression is established in the child, the worse the long-term outcome. Serious anti-social behaviour is highly resistant to change at schoolage and adolescence’

‘Offender’ or ‘at risk’?
The line between young offender or ‘at risk’ victim is as blurred here as in the distinctions of offender and victim in ‘recreational’ violence described by John Carnochan. However, Camila pointed out that in tackling the three circles it is vital to distinguish accurately between the groups. Our current practice of trying to reach all of them (criminal/drug dealer, lone children and aggressive imitators) with the exact same (policing) solution is mistaken. The drug dealer needs policing; the lone children need social care structures robust enough to meet their needs (so they are not driven back to the drug dealer as a better social care structure than society offers); and the imitator children can be addressed by cultural and educational means. Camila firmly believes these lone children belong on the ‘at risk’ register and that if they are not identified as such they are likely to finish up on the young offenders’ register – a key step on the road to adult criminality. Message 2: The earlier the intervention, the better Combined with child protection, early intervention was the second most suggested action by delegates in the pre-Conference consultation, and was elevated to the top priority during the 10,000 Volts workshop. Aggression is established very early George Hosking used statistics to stress the crucial importance of very early experience and, as a consequence, Prevention and early intervention:

The above graph from James Heckman, the Nobel Prize winning economist, shows rapidly falling return on capital from preschool ages to post-school.

‘Male aggressive behaviour is highly stable as early as age 2. There is no better predictor of violent or anti-social behaviour by the age of 15-17 than aggression at age 2 – not whether children come from single parent homes, broken homes, poor homes, the

This next graph (from Bruce Perry) depicts the malleability of the brain at different ages (blue line) and spending, by age, on programmes to change the brain (red line). It indicates that very early intervention is considerably more cost-effective than later intervention, and that the earlier the intervention takes place, the better the return. This is because, at birth, the capacity of a baby to change in response to interactions is massive, but that capacity diminishes sharply with age. Yet money is spent in precisely the most ineffective way.

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The early starters contribute the most to serious crime In his presentation of ‘The chain reaction to violence and how to interrupt it’ Professor Friederich Lösel graphically illustrated the typical pattern in this cycle as an accumulation of risks and problems, starting as early as pregnancy, rather than one single factor. Since the single most significant threat is from the tiny minority of earlyonset offenders who commit over half of all crime, including violence, putting our focus on the earliest possible prevention or intervention in the chain reaction will bear the most fruit in reducing violence. If more early-onset type offenders were given the appropriate level of support and intervention much farther back in the chain, the number of youths behaving in ways to warrant Exclusion could be significantly reduced. Message 3: Ensure empathy is fostered in young children through improved attachment, attunement and parental nurture Before taking us through her presentation on the development of the infant brain, Suzanne Zeedyk quoted the conclusion of psychiatrist Alan Schore that:

‘A child’s earliest primary relationship acts as a template permanently moulding the capacity to enter into all later emotional relationships’
To put it another way, the human baby arrives incomplete, ready to be programmed by adults. The keys to shaping an emotionally healthy infant brain are attunement and empathy. Parents and babies attune to each other through such contacts as eye gaze and facial expressions, right from birth. By age 2, children are demonstrating empathy for each other. Early attunement equals later empathy. It is only through attunement with others that we develop the ability to feel empathy for others. That process is crucial both to preventing violence and understanding other people’s emotions. Empathy is the quality that has now come to be regarded by many scientists as the single greatest inhibitor of the propensity to violence.

We can already predict that low attunement from parents at 10-12 months can lay down longer term problems. At 18 months aggression and temper tantrums are evident. By 2 years, compliance is low and, by 3, there are problems with other children. To babies, whose brains are being sculpted for the rest of their lives, attunement is love. If someone didn’t receive the kind of responsiveness needed as a baby, it isn’t hopeless or too late; but after the early years it is harder, less effective and costs far more. Suzanne listed numerous international studies which trace the roots of violence to early relations in families, to parenting and child rearing methods, to types of discipline, and to harsh punishment. In view of the importance of very early experience, it is tragic that the first year of life is the peak age for child abuse in the UK. The now classic Dunedin Study, first published in 1996, shows just how important early experience really is: The development of one thousand children born in Dunedin, New Zealand, in 1972 was followed and monitored from birth. When these children were 3, nurses (who knew nothing about their backgrounds) assessed them, by watching them at play for 90 minutes, to identify those they judged could be at risk. At follow-up at age 21, it was found that the ‘at risk’ boys had 2½ times as many criminal convictions as the group deemed not to be at risk. In addition, 55% of the offences were violent for the ‘at risk’ group, as opposed to 18% of those not at risk; 47% of those in the ‘at risk’ group were abusing their partners, as opposed to under 10% of the other group. Far fewer girls than boys had shown conduct disorder by age 21 but, of those who did, two striking statistics emerge: 30% of the ‘at risk’ conduct-disordered girls had become teenage mothers, whereas there had been not a single teenage birth to the conduct-disordered girls from the not at risk group. And of those ‘conduct-disordered and ‘at risk’ teenage mothers, 43% were in abusive, violent relationships, having found their partners from within the ‘at risk’ boys. Subsequent follow-up at age 26 showed the pattern was maintained. Thus, before it was even completed, the study was able to conclude that immature mothers with no strong parenting skills and violent partners

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had already given birth to the next generation of ‘at risk’ children. While it is not totally guaranteed and other factors might arise to alter it, the fact is that, in general, adult behaviour can be predicted with statistical accuracy at age 3 when children are still riding their tricycles, because we already know the risk factors. Further details of the Dunedin study can be seen in the WAVE Report Violence and what to do about it, and downloaded free from www.wavetrust.org. Importance of empathy George Hosking told us that absence of empathy is the key characteristic of violent criminals, and that the reason most of us are not violent is that we possess empathy – the greatest single antidote to violent behaviour because it stops us from hurting other people. In his book Violence: Our Deadly Epidemic and Its Causes James Gilligan described a murderer who had recently killed a 14-year-old girl and was recounting his feelings just before he murdered her: ‘I had no feelings. I just felt empty. No love, no hate, sadness, remorse.’ And just afterwards: ‘I felt nothing.’ ‘Empathy – the glue that holds society together’ The crucial importance of empathy was reinforced by John Carnochan, quoting the Scottish philosopher David Hume: ‘empathy is the glue that holds society together’. In explaining the 4-stage Public Health model he is using in his causal approach to tackling violence in Scotland (Individual, Relationship, Community and Society) John illustrated the Relationship stage with the following radically different experiences of two sets of potential parents: First there’s a professional couple in an affluent part of town deciding to start a family. They each have well-paid jobs and nice cars. They have a broad family network and a wide social network. Even so, having that baby will be difficult, and looking after that baby will be difficult. Now think ‘protective’ and ‘risk’ and remove some of those nice things. Take away the family network, the social network, the money and the cars.

This is now a really poor area where the guy next door deals drugs, there’s perhaps a paedophile across the road and a really angry guy living upstairs. Imagine you are a teenager on your own there. Now think how difficult it is to bring up children. John pointed to Heckman’s estimate that for every £11 spent at the end of the scale when a youngster is 17-18 years of age, the same result can be obtained at the other end (0-3 years) for £1, and he urged the Conference to challenge those who can change these spending decisions. Message 4: Radically improve early parenting and care both (a) within families and (b) in the Care Home system Radically improve early parenting within families Speakers and delegates saw this as crucially important to making sure young people are given the sort of start in life that protects them from later dysfunction, anti-social and violent tendencies.

Roots of Empathy – a parenting programme with beneficial side-effects
George Hosking described this programme as one of two he believes can make the greatest difference (the other being Nurse Family Partnership). Roots of Empathy is a hands-on source of dual benefits that not only protects the next generation, by teaching future parents ways to foster empathy in babies, it also reduces bullying in schools. Children who may never have experienced the critical commodities of love and empathy in their own lives, and who did not receive attuned parenting (and so are not primed to deliver it to their own children in the future), spend nine months in close contact with a relationship of attunement and empathy between a real live baby and its competent, loving parents. This programme, delivered in a school setting, may transform their ability to parent, and is intended to break the cycle of violence. A fuller description of Roots of Empathy can be seen in the WAVE Report.

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More support for parents and families
What follows is a small, representative selection of the 26 pre-Conference suggestions calling for more support for parents and families:

‘We don’t leave it to parents to figure out how best to educate their children. We see that as a societal/state responsibility. We could, if we wished, see it also as a societal responsibility to assist parents in raising children to the best of their ability’ ‘Suggest promoting values of families and providing support to parents in community coupled with continued enforcement such as parenting classes, truancy patrols, etc.’ ‘Strengthening courses for families in “neutral” settings such as Children’s Centres should be a universally available option to enable hard-to-reach families to access them’ ‘The lack of familial support is obviously a major factor. Unless a stable framework of support is offered to the kids we will all be fighting a losing battle’
Focus on ‘at risk’ children and families 31 of the pre-Conference suggestions cited the need to focus on ‘at risk’ children, and 9 stressed the need to understand risk factors. At present strategies to identify, let alone serve, these families proactively are patchy and it is not always recorded whether or not families in need are seen by Children’s Centres. In one local authority there were no targets relating to socially excluded families, and no data management or caseload analyses were carried out on health visitor contact with these families at key points. Official figures show at least 350,000 children live in households headed by drug addicted parents, yet addicts are not even asked to divulge whether they have dependent children when they seek treatment. We know from separate research that children from the homes of problem drinking or addicted parents have an increased tendency towards truancy, and that almost 50,000 crimes are committed in

London each year by truanting children. It would therefore seem advisable for agencies to co-operate to identify these children wherever possible, so they can be placed on the ‘at risk’ register rather than ending up on the young offenders’ register. The following are typical of preConference suggestions by delegates:

‘[We] require funded and systematic identification of those at risk, followed by coordinated efforts to safeguard early, without recourse to Care’ ‘More work has to be done on very early identification, intervention and support and monitoring of families with high levels of problems/dysfunction/abuse’
Radically improve early parenting in the Care Home system Twenty delegate suggestions related to improving the quality of foster care and Care Homes. Research shows one third of prisoners have been in local authority care, yet only 0.6% of the nation’s children are in care at any one time.

Needs of cared-for children not met
There is an urgent need to transform the experience of children going through our Care Home system. Children taken into Care will have invariably suffered some sort of trauma, ranging from relatively mild to severe, meaning they arrive in an already damaged condition. For the care delivered in these exacting circumstances to be of a high enough quality to heal the existing damage, it probably needs to be of higher quality than that in a ‘normal’, (adequate) domestic environment. While there are some excellent examples of Care Homes within the UK and in other countries, the following statistics from the recent UK study of cared-for children by Colin Maginn and Sean Cameron (both from Pillars of Parenting) reveal how poorly we are performing overall in the UK:

While each one of the 60,900 children and young people who were in local authority care at the end of March 2005 had his or her own painful story to tell, there were a few common circumstances which had led to them becoming looked after children, the chief of these being

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abuse and neglect (42%), family dysfunction (13%), intense family stress (12%), parental illness (7%) and socially unacceptable behaviour (6%). So, rather than viewing these children as ones who exhibit such disturbed and disturbing behaviour they have to be removed temporarily or permanently from their families, the majority appear to have ended up in care through the problems of adults. The high level of social, emotional and behavioural difficulties experienced by children living in both residential and foster-care indicates that looked after children are among the most disadvantaged in our society.
2003 research showed 68% of children in residential care and 39% of those placed with foster-carers were identified as having a mental disorder, and a 1996 study found that as many as 96% of children in residential care and 57% of those in fostercare had a variety of ‘psychiatric disorders’. In England in 2004 only 6% of children leaving care had achieved ‘good’ (A-C) grades at GCSE level or equivalent, compared with 53% of pupils overall. Only one in a 100 looked after children went on to university that autumn, compared with 43 per cent of people (aged thirty and below) in the population as a whole and 60% of children in one of the really successful Danish Care Homes. Some 25% of all children in care have a ‘Statement of Special Educational Needs’. Pre-conference comments by delegates included the following:

process flawed and measurable outcome limited’ ‘Increase adoption and fostering capacity to ensure that children remain in structured and caring environments’ ‘Too much time is wasted and too much damage is done to children who are left in families for long periods with services trying to support a child in the family long after this is viable’ ‘When [children] come into care they are often so damaged, traumatised and lacking in attachment that placements fail and children fall through the net. Too many children are then allowed to drift through multiple placements and multiple schools before they become 1618 and are kicked out of the system’ ‘… we need to stop washing our hands of these children’ ‘Care is an environment where teenagers have to stand up for themselves; they learn that violence is an effective way to do this. Care support often finishes too early, and young people at 16 do not have the skills they need for adult life, and hence resort to a life of crime’
Potential improvements in Care conditions The June 2007 White Paper ‘Care Matters – Time for Change’ discusses various measures to improve Care provision for children. These are wide-ranging, from pilot studies to explore the effectiveness of European ‘social pedagogy’ models, through working with birth parents while children are in care, to funding specialist interventions for youngsters on the edge of care. The measures under discussion also include tackling the problems of truancy and school Exclusion.

‘Children in foster care are not dealt with as if they have been through a traumatic incident, which they often have, and this needs to be addressed’ ‘The standard of accommodation in Care Homes is ad hoc, the inspection

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Theme B – Place Public Health at the heart of the drive to reduce violence Message 5: Health is the only agency naturally involved with children from before birth until age 3 The US Surgeon General gave the following definition of Primary Prevention: perpetrators; neurotransmitter dysfunctions and serotonin transference in the brain play a role; hormonal factors (too high or too low); cortisone level (cortisone is a stress indicator).

Genetic protective factor in violence –
One very early protective factor is the presence in some children of high levels of monoamine oxidase activity (MAOA). When children are not subjected to childhood maltreatment the level of MAO activity has no impact on levels of violence. When children are subjected to serious levels of maltreatment, high levels of MAO activity have a protective effect, and children with this protective factor are less likely to develop anti-social behaviour. Serious maltreatment together with low levels of MAO activity does give a disposition for higher levels of anti-social behaviour and aggression. Professor Lösel also cited inappropriate nutrition, including too much meat and junk food, as a minor risk factor along the chain towards violence. That diet plays a role in mood (and hence could be a triggering factor in aggressive behaviour) has been established in a number of studies with both schoolchildren and offenders in prison. Message 6: Shift the focus from Criminal Justice after the fact to Health before the fact

‘Preventing an illness from occurring is inherently better than having to treat the illness after its onset. The classic public health definition of primary prevention refers to interventions which ward off the initial onset of a disorder’
Research shows that very many of the earliest signs of physical or personality risks likely to result in later violence are either visible, or identifiable, at birth (or even prebirth in the cases of Foetal Alcohol Syndrome or drug addiction). This is one of many factors to make Health the obvious service of first choice in a strategic approach to combating violence as well as preventing other mental and physical disorders. Health-related risk factors in the chain reaction In his presentation on the chain reaction to violence, Friederich Lösel specified some of the risk factors along the chain, and they could all be said to be Health issues. The problem is when many or all of these factors coincide. If just two or three factors are present, the likelihood of severe problems is low, but the risk increases exponentially with an increase in the number of risk factors. Health care professionals involved with pregnancy and young children are best placed of all groups to detect risks at the most crucial and potentially fruitful (in terms of the effectiveness of intervention) stage in a child’s life.

‘Criminal justice was meant to be the service of last resort, but it’s become the service of first resort because it’s easy to count’ John Carnochan
John adopted, and adapted, the World Health Organisation model because the Criminal Justice model is not effective for preventing violence. He illustrated the point by speculating on the likely success rate of tackling measles or tuberculosis via the Criminal Justice model (Event, Report, Investigate, and then Act). In that model, society would wait until someone developed TB before providing medical intervention. In severe cases,

Pregnancy risks include foetal alcohol
syndrome (neurological development is impaired by alcohol during pregnancy), delivery complications and very low birth weight (only a minor risk, but can play a role if it is not compensated for later). Physiological markers include underarousal – a low resting heart rate is a correlate of youth violence, particularly in the more proactive, cold-blooded

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patients would be put in a sanatorium and allowed out again only after the disease had cleared up. Had this absurd approach been adopted by Public Health, many diseases such as TB and measles would still be rife. In contrast, the Public Health model focuses on finding the cause of a problem and, once identified, looks at risk factors and reduces them, finds protective factors and increases them – building around the

most ‘at risk’ group and then scaling up the things that work. John described making Criminal Justice the service of first resort as being as sensible as:

‘…wondering where to position the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff, instead of building a wall at the top’

Public Health Model

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•Lack of punishment for pre cursor offences – knife carrying •Lack of visible swift justice •Lack of appropriate court disposals •Lack of appropriate change programmes •Links to deprivation

•Cultural norms •Legitimisation of violence •Access to and use of alcohol •Lack of aspiration •Dependancy

•Poor parenting skills •Lack of knowledge •Friends that engage in violence •Prevalence of gang culture •Violent families – siblings/parents •Lack of significant adults/positive role model

•Lack of communication skills •Poor behavioural control •Impulsiveness •Aggressive behaviour •Lack of skills to deal with conflict •Lack of “life” skills •Exclusion from Services/Schools •Nutrition Diet Health •Alcohol •Lack of employment opportunities

How Criminal Justice practices fit inside the Public Health model of the 4 dimensions: Individual, Relationship, Community and Society

Components of the Public Health model 1 Individual – those life skills that allow us to make good decisions about ourselves, to ‘negotiate life without bumping into it’; about what we drink and eat, how we exercise, who we run with or, as John put it:

3 Community – about cultural norms and
what’s acceptable. For lots of these young men involved in gangs, that’s just what they do. Their dads, their uncles and granddads were all in gangs.

4 Society – the wider community and how The first time young people are offered drugs or alcohol or that big risk, they don’t have somebody standing on their shoulder to tell them the right thing to do. You just hope they’ve been equipped to make the right decisions before they get there. 2 Relationships – basically about couples and parenting (see Empathy in Theme B).
it responds and handles the problems. What follows is a brief selection of comments relevant to the role of Health from the 10,000 Volts workshop: `

‘Up to 3 years old, how do the police have an impact?’ – ‘That’s the point; they don’t (apart from their involvement with parents). It’s the role of Health and Education’

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‘…colleagues in Health do not attend and participate. Can’t they see the benefits in Prevention?’ ‘Excellent speaker – [John Carnochan] this needs to be cascaded to every borough, good point about Health – why is Health so poorly represented today?’ ‘Government must see violence as a disease that can be prevented. Disease prevention must have Health provision as part of the solution. Indeed violence reduction should be led by Health services’ ‘Health colleagues must get involved and we need to break down organisational barriers’ ‘Strategic Health Authority should be required to participate and map out participation locally’

‘Please can we ask the PM to require Health to participate in violence reduction?’ ‘There is nowhere near enough resource put into child mental health… when people end up in custody and have mental health problems which are not addressed, custody does not have the ability to deal with such people. If the resource was put it at a much earlier stage then maybe we could address this’ ‘Let’s appoint more health visitors. Let’s get dentists to ask why women’s jaws are broken. Let’s let speech and language therapists work with mothers and infants’ ‘Drawing the health impacts of getting involved in violence should be used as an education for those involved’

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Theme C – Give schools a key role in deflecting children from a pathway to youth violence

‘It shall be the duty of the local education authority for every area, so far as their powers extend, to continue towards the spiritual, mental and physical development of the para II 7 of the 1944 Education Act community’
• • • Greater focus on pre- and postschool activities Education for better parenting included in the standard school curriculum Police officers based in all secondary schools, with an additional requirement to deliver PSHE to their catchment area of local primary schools Personal development in all schools A well-rounded person is able to be both practical and academic and good teachers foster that

Message 7: Expand Education’s role to include emotional as well as academic development As discussed in the previous sections, because aggression can be well-established as early as the age of 2, action to ensure children are non-violent at school needs to be taken well in advance of their entry into the educational system. The great grandparents and grandparents of today’s school children grew up in an environment of strict discipline in which children had little voice and teachers generally were both respected and feared. The pendulum has swung in the opposite direction, and it is now often the case that the teachers are afraid of the children they teach. Clearly, neither extreme is ideal and we need to synthesise them in a way that respects the rights and needs of everyone. The long-term answer lies not only with schools but within all of society, particularly within families. Short-term solutions could include improved conflict management training for teachers and anger management courses for pupils. School practices and curricula School practices and curricula ranked third in pre-Conference suggestions for reducing youth violence. Specific suggestions included: • A comprehensive approach to truancy and youths Excluded from school, with better support for the latter Increased availability of work-related learning opportunities at age 14 Significant investment in voluntary community programmes on selfesteem and identity An alternative curriculum for young people on the cusp of gang and group offending

• •

The following is a representative selection of the many other suggestions from the 10,000 Volts workshops: • • Early identification of whether children are basically academic or vocationally oriented Teach a broad range of practical subjects – from hairdressing to car maintenance, to first aid and public speaking Teach homemaking skills such as cooking and cleaning as well as parenting skills Hold healthy living workshops Elevate social and life skills to the same height as academic achievement

• • •

• • •

Other suggestions for how school could provide a more fruitful and secure place for youngsters included lengthening the school day and not allowing pupils off the premises until the end of the day, since much trouble and crime take place during the lunch period. The early personality and behaviour risks In current practice, any child entering the school system could well have been previously unobserved and unmonitored by

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anyone outside immediate family since birth. Therefore, the first days and weeks in the school system offer a valuable opportunity to assess a child’s general welfare including whether there might be risk factors in the home. Professor Lösel identified the following markers for risk in the young personality: • • • • • • • temperamental difficulties hyperactivity attention deficit impulsiveness sensation-seeking (more adventurous, more risk-taking) early lying and early stealing cruelty to animals – a particular risk predictor because it is early onset aggression

presence contravenes government guidelines. Indicator 1 in the PSA on improving child safety is the ‘Percentage of children who have experienced bullying’:

‘Bullying is a primary safety concern for children and young people. In the TellUs2 survey in 2007, 30% of children said they had been bullied in school in the last four weeks, with 5% of all children saying that they were bullied on most days’
Reasons for denial of bullying There was a great deal of feedback on this problem and the need for schools in denial to admit that they do have bullying, as the first step in improving the situation. Because they are judged not only on academic success but also on the perceived safety they provide, delegates (many of them from schools) stated that when schools deny bullying exists, or greatly under-report it, it is because to admit its true level could lower the perceived attractiveness of the school or perceived competence of its senior teachers. When this happens, because the problem is not owned, it gets neither measured nor managed. The denial can then create frustration and disrespect amongst the pupils. It also acts as an obstacle to teachers’ acquiring the skills to deal with the problems of conflict and bullying. In the words of a 10,000 Volts contributor:

A system for schools to raise alerts whenever a risk factor is observed could be a very powerful strategic string to the bow of the Grand Alliance envisaged by Sir Ian Blair (page 38). This would imply a massive shift in the focus of the role of Education, to encompass the development of the whole child in every sense of the word. Message 8: Schools can greatly reduce dysfunctional behaviour, anger, bullying and violence Conflict resolution for pupils is both a child protection and a violence reduction issue. Since bullying and aggression in school-age children are predictors of later actual violence, handling these effectively presents an opportunity to interrupt the chain reaction. George Hosking recommended that bullying, conflict and violence could be reduced by delivering anger management programmes in schools rather than waiting until people have been sent to prison. This idea was echoed by delegates and other speakers who made recommendations for various programmes to reduce conflict and bullying in our schools. Government guidelines ‘Safe to learn’ (DCSF 2007) renews the guidance for schools to record and report all incidents of bullying, any false denial of its

‘… teachers don’t understand gang culture. When one child told her teacher “Miss, the Olders are after me”, the teacher just laughed and sent her on her way. That is a training issue’
Bullying as a warning sign Frequently bullied children are 4 times more likely to be suicidal than children not involved in bullying if boys; 8 times more likely if girls. By age 24, almost 60% of those boys classified by researchers as bullies in grades 6-9 were convicted of at least one crime and 40% of them had 3 or more convictions. Research also shows that half or more of all bullying can be prevented and that those youngsters with the most serious behaviour problems benefit most from effective programmes. Four rigorously tested interventions have proved effective:

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The Olweus Bullying Prevention Programme – developed in Norway after
the suicides of a number of victims of bullying. Now implemented in several hundred schools around the world, it produced a 50% reduction in bullying and other anti-social behaviour in Norway, and a 20% reduction in a South Carolina test.

Roots of Empathy (RoE) – In research evaluations RoE has consistently shown significant decreases in pupils’ aggression and bullying, and an increase in pro-social behaviours (see page 15). These benefits were maintained 3 years after the end of the programme. Linking the Interests of Families and Teachers (LIFT) – LIFT shows long-term
results are possible from a 10-week antiaggression programme. Compared to LIFT participants, 5th graders whose schools did not receive the programme were, by 8th grade, 59% more likely to drink alcohol regularly, and twice as likely to have been arrested than those who received the programme.

crucial stage is not managed adequately – or is missed altogether – Exclusion can result. A failure at the third stage leads to stages 4 and 5 – involvement by external third parties, followed by resolution in the form of the youngsters involved being either rehabilitated back into the original environment or permanently re-located. Denny said that when schools fall down badly it is at the third stage in the process. Yale University study The ‘most important’ finding reported after a Yale University study of developmental trajectories toward violence over middle childhood (Years 1-6) was that:

‘children whose teachers taught a high number of lessons in the conflict resolution curriculum demonstrated positive changes in their socialemotional developmental trajectories and deflections from a path toward future aggression and violence’
Making youth crime-prevention in schools more effective Two of the initiatives of the London Youth Crime Prevention Board are relevant to the role of schools in reducing violence. What follows is a paraphrased summary of Lord Victor Adebowale’s presentation of the Board’s work, which focuses primarily on cutting the flow of young people into early criminality, because entering the criminal justice system is a watershed from which it is very hard to turn back He explained that the LYCPB arose out of the conviction that further progress on youth crime would ultimately depend on two things: improved prevention effort, and a forum that genuinely bridges the worlds of community safety and children’s services.

The Incredible Years – originally designed for children aged 2-8 with high levels of aggressive behaviour, this program trains parents and children in problem-solving and other non-aggressive social skills. It has been able to stop the cycle of aggression for approximately two-thirds of the families receiving help.
The conflict management model Denny Grant took us through his 5-stage conflict management model, which he recommends on the basis that ‘there is no such thing as a conflict-free zone’ – whether the conflict is internal or external, between people or between nations, there is always a state of some kind of conflict. So, stage one, managed conflict, is ‘about as good as it gets’. However, in the second stage, some aspect of the inherent conflict develops into open challenge, usually of the authority of a teacher or teachers. Then the third stage is about negotiating differences to identify and try to resolve what was behind the challenge. During this key stage, many dayto-day conflicts are resolved over varying time periods. However, whenever this

Schools Award
One strand of the LYCPB work is to establish a new benchmark for London schools, bringing together the key characteristics of excellence in creating safer schools, and then disseminating these characteristics to schools, pupils, parents and the wider community. This benchmark will form the basis for a new school Award to demonstrate, and celebrate, genuinely stepping up to the plate when it comes to the safety of pupils, schools, and the

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community. One of the elements of the benchmark is a positive, productive relationship with the Police.

Pupil Referral Units (PRUs)
The Board is also exploring alternative education provision, including Pupil Referral Units. PRUs need to be a classic site for best prevention work for many children, being potentially the last safety net before they risk falling out of the system altogether. The next step could well be supervision, if that’s not already the case, or indeed custody. Pupil Referral Units can offer young people a second chance to turn around their education and their behaviour, to live a life that isn’t solely governed by the harsh culture of the street. The success of PRUs varies with the quality of delivery. While some do a great job, the Board will be looking hard over the coming months at how to raise all units in London up to the standard of the best, because inadequacy cannot be tolerated if we’re serious about youth crime prevention. One commentator made the point that Pupil Referral Units can be located either on the same site as the school from which the pupil has been referred or off-site at a different location. In his experience, it is far better to run these units on-site because it facilitates the rehabilitation of referred pupils back into the regular school environment. Message 9: Violent crime can be reduced by appropriate alternatives to School Exclusion

schools that did not invest resources in resolving existing conflict between community needs and the pupil’s position. His Hampshire study of offenders showed that 93% of them had received some form of Exclusion over a 3-year period. This bleak picture is borne out in Government statistics: Home Office research suggests 78% of males and 53% of females who truant once or more in a week commit offences. Excluded children are 2.3 times more likely to commit an offence (MORI, 2004) and 50% more likely to commit ‘very serious’ offences than other pupils. A DfES 2004 survey of 14-year olds found that 60% of those truanting were also drinking frequently or fighting. A retrospective study (Home Office, 2001) of young people who had been Excluded across a ten year period from 1988-98 found that 44% of youths had no recorded offences prior to permanent Exclusion but had a record of offending following permanent Exclusion. 11% of these youths had their first offence in the same month they were Excluded. David Gilbertson provides data from the Metropolitan Police showing that nearly half of all offences of Theft and Handling by juveniles are committed during school hours. Gilbertson’s view is that: ‘There is a direct and palpable link

between Exclusion, truanting and crime’
This view is supported by the Audit Commission’s survey of young offenders, which found that 42% had been Excluded from school while a further 23% ‘truanted significantly’. Prisoners are 10 times more likely than the general population to have been habitual truants. Measures need to foster the emotional development of teenagers Excluding troublesome youths from school simply shifts the problem out into the wider community. The Excluded ones will naturally band together and either create or worsen conditions that increase the likelihood of violence. This phenomenon was described by Professor Lösel in terms of a concentration of people with violent tendencies in a particular area, or group, raising the overall level of violence exponentially. Once Excluded and mixing

‘We have to understand the link between exclusion from school and criminality, the connection between literacy and anti-social behaviour…’ Sir Ian Blair
Some statistics showing why Exclusion and truancy really matter Denny Grant lamented the fact that the best current indicator of violence in schools (coyly labelled ‘aggression’ rather than ‘violence’ in the UK) lies in Exclusion statistics, because we do not routinely collect any other data. His research showed that many of the youngsters who ended up as runners in gangs had been Excluded from

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only with others in the same category, youngsters lose the protective factor of positive role models in the form of teachers. They also lose the protective factor of the diluting effect of the usual mix in the peer group. The absence of these protective factors can make it all too easy for violence and general anti-social behaviour to become their norm. ‘Back door Exclusion’ The following comment came from the 10,000 Volts workshop:

‘… some head teachers don’t record young people not being in school… back door Exclusion is the elephant in the room that nobody talks about – it’s a highly contentious political issue’
The challenge faced by many schools is huge: emotionally immature youngsters can be physically fully grown, frightening and very aggressive; sometimes they are armed. It is not surprising if many a teacher feels illequipped to cope. However, turning these difficult youths loose on society is an abdication rather than a viable solution to the problem. If the formality of School Exclusion were required to be part of an integrated approach that ensured Excluded youth receive comprehensive support to deflect them from anti-social pathways and encourage pro-social choices in their lives, the current multiple consequences of Exclusions could be avoided. Alternatives to Truancy and Exclusion The workshop on truancy and Exclusion looked at two effective programmes for reducing these problems. The Dorset Healthy Alliance Project addressed the relationship between education, health and anti-social behaviour. It promoted closer parent-school links while tackling truancy and bullying. An educational social worker based at a local primary school continued to work with the children and their families after they had moved up to the local secondary school. Truancy was virtually eliminated in the primary school and fell from 28% to 16% at the secondary level. There were reductions in theft, vandalism, under-age drinking,

solvent and drug abuse. Academic performance improved significantly. The project produced financial returns of more than double its cost. The Pathways to Education Program in Toronto’s Regents Park provided students with moral, financial and intellectual support. Academic support took the form of tutoring for 4 nights a week, and financial support the form of bus tickets earned through school attendance. Student-Parent Support Workers helped build bridges between pupils, parents and teachers. The programme reduced absenteeism by 50% while the percentage of ‘academically at risk’ students fell from 40 to 16. The high school drop out rate fell from 56% to 10%. The Boston Consulting Group evaluation concluded the long-term benefit to society for every $ invested in Pathways is $12. Steps to improve the situation in schools PSA Delivery Agreement 12 stipulates that: • • Schools will also promote emotional health and resilience By 2011 all schools will offer access to extended services, which could include health or therapy services

All primary schools and 50% of secondary schools will implement the Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning (SEAL) programme by 2012, to: • Promote children’s emotional wellbeing and early intervention work for those children and young people at risk of mental health problems Increase the numbers of schools delivering school-based mental health support

While it is designed to improve children’s emotional intelligence, as yet there is no research evidence that SEAL increases their empathy. Nor does it teach attunement and parenting of babies. Because all of these benefits are delivered by the Roots of Empathy programme, for schools to offer both SEAL and Roots of Empathy would be a very strong step towards preparing children for life and parenthood.

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Theme D – Provide young people with the support they need to become healthy, successful, pro-social citizens In his introduction, Sean Cameron quoted Socrates as a reminder of the vulnerability and humanity of the youngsters at the heart of the subject of the Conference: to earlier. Much youth violence is carried out by these teenage onset offenders and is simply ‘grown out of’ by the time the survivors of it reach their early 20s. Rising levels of youth violence Following the Conference, the Channel 4 Dispatches documentary (Why Kids Kill, January 2008) found that: • murder of children by children tripled in the UK in the last 3 years; the number of killings in which both victim and assailant were under 18 jumped from 12 in 2005 to 37 in 2007; more than half of these killings are believed to be gang-related; there has been a six-fold increase in the number of gangs in some parts of London since 2000; and children as young as five are now joining gangs and even throwing petrol bombs

‘In no order of things is adolescence a simple time of life’
Gangs or groups? Just as banding into co-operative hunting groups was crucial in the survival and success of our species, it is entirely natural for today’s developing youngsters to band together once they outgrow the need for close parental care and protection. Delegate comments in 10,000 Volts and speakers such as Denny Grant and John Carnochan observed that ‘gang’ is a pejorative term for a group, which could equally be called a team, depending on their purpose or activity or, as John Carnochan put it –

• • •

‘You could say Strathclyde Police is a gang of 65,000…’
… and Denny Grant illustrated the point with the tale of a group of small boys asking their teacher to help them to:

‘…become a gang, but we don’t want to be the sort of gang that bullies people and fights; we want to be a different kind of gang’
What is not acceptable – but can be a tendency when there is not enough opportunity for energy to be discharged positively – is when youths band together with the intention deliberately to harm others, as has been increasingly happening with gangs in London. Teenage onset violence Adolescence can be a really severely challenging time while youngsters learn how to handle increased feelings of anger and frustration triggered by surges in hormones. When youths in this phase turn to violence for the first time (‘teenage onset offenders’), they are in a different category from the early onset violent aggressors who result from very harsh early circumstances referred

Disadvantaged children from war-torn regions A new source of problems on our streets and in our schools comes with children from war-torn parts of the world, whose attitude to violence has been distorted by this experience. Specialised support, including assessment for and treatment of PTSD, is needed for these children if they are not to contribute to a normalisation of extreme violence amongst their associates. Without the right sort of support, they are also likely to contribute disproportionately to the next generation of infants in need of early intervention. Low UK youth wellbeing Suzanne Zeedyk told us that the 2006 UNICEF study of child poverty ranked UK youth wellbeing the lowest in the 19 European countries measured. This study has since been updated for 2007. Current figures rank UK youth wellbeing at the bottom of the 21 countries evaluated, and in the bottom quartile on 5 of the 6 measures. Our best score was 12th out of 21 (on Health and Safety).

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Message 10: There is an urgent need to improve the level and quality of youth support at street level The Dispatches documentary quoted above gave the actual ratio of youth workers to youths in London in January 2008 as 1 in 800, against a target of 1 in 400. The need for more, and better quality, youth workers was stressed by many delegates:

‘Lack of youth workers…’ ‘I would re-introduce Detached Youth Workers who work with “hard to reach young people” in the community’ ‘Put more money into youth provision & diversion (iPe) – at the partnership level e.g. Met track, Kicks, outreach workers’ ‘More money into youth centres; training for all youth workers’ ‘Funding for youth workers’
Models for success To increase our understanding of how to divert youngsters into safer activities, Brojo Pillai took us through WAVE’s research into four promising approaches adopted in the US to reduce youth homicide levels and gang crime: 1. Boston 2. Philadelphia 3. Chicago’s Little Village 4. Los Angeles’ Boyle Heights pilot The following is a paraphrased summary of his presentation:

workers’, or social workers, who the police saw as little better than gang members – they looked and spoke like gang members and had often been gang members in the past. Their responsibility was to connect current gang members to the social services available, e.g. job opportunities. There was also an anti-gang unit, which was reshaped after the community erupted around certain racial discrimination issues at that time. The key operational innovations were Operation Nightlight and Operation Ceasefire.

Operation Nightlight – Here probation
officers who usually sat in their offices went out on to the streets with police officers, carrying out joint patrols to track the same people breaking their parole conditions. The result was a significant change in the dynamic, putting the probationers under very strict supervision conditions.

Operation Ceasefire – In this, gang
members involved in serious violence were subjected to a united, multi-agency front saying, essentially, ‘We know who you are. We know what you do. If you cross this line – serious violence – we will come down on you, and it will be a multi-agency coming down on you. On the other hand, if you want a way out, here is the 10-point coalition’. The street workers, who sat in the audience during these conversations, then said: ‘We are here to help you. As a gang member, you are seven times more likely to die, and we don’t want you to die. So if you need to get connected to a job, if you need to get back to school, if your mum needs an operation, give us a ring and we’ll help you.’ In parallel with the community initiative, the Boston project focused intense policing on the sources of illegal firearms and made the lives of gun runners supplying the gangs very difficult. These combined strategies brought a very successful period of homicide reductions to Boston.

1. Boston
The success of the Boston approach (incorporating the well-known ‘Operation Ceasefire’) was grounded in one principle and two operational strategies: the principle was a network based on capacity and trust, where stakeholders with very different perspectives on gang violence were brought together. This wasn’t some police action with an advisory community group, but a cohesive working group with members from a ‘10-point coalition’ including a group of black ministers representing the minority community in Boston. These were ‘street

2. Philadelphia
The Philadelphia approach sought to replicate Boston’s success but with a high level partnership involving the mayor, district attorney, police and social services. They identified Boston’s two critical success factors as (a) the network of capacity and trust and (b) Operation Nightlight.

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They targeted a set of 100 young probationers who were most likely to kill or be killed before they reached 25. These were then assigned a team of two: a probation officer and a street worker. Each team handled a case load of 25 as opposed to the regular load of 200. The probation officer was responsible for very strict supervision to ensure the probationer met parole conditions. The street worker was responsible for connecting that individual to supportive services. The dynamic was to support, but impose graduated sanctions to ensure that the support was taken up. This operation has been successful enough to be expanded to cover half of the under-25 probationers in the area.

3. Chicago’s Little Village (the
‘comprehensive’ gang approach) This approach was initiated by Irving Spergel, a social worker in New York during the 1950s, at a time when there had been a significant rise in gang violence and NY had opted for the social work solution. The core of this strategy is the admission that it is not just youth who are the problem but also the community and institutions, and that any approach taking a single perspective (such as suppression, or harsh sentences, or more support, or more community mobilisation) is unlikely to succeed. Spergel put forward a comprehensive model with two key points: 1. create the street team, similar to the current one in Philadelphia, and 2. balance – for each individual, determine what kind of sanctions to impose and what kind of support to provide. For each individual, balance the strategy. This comprehensive approach has been very successful.

times the gang crimes of New York – a staggering statistic as New York is larger. After all these years and the billions of dollars spent, LA has twice as many gang members, six times the number of gangs, and accounts for 75% of homicides in California. In an admission of spectacular failure with the original strategy, LA put forward a new gang strategy in April 2007, based on their one area where gang crime was going down – a little area called Boyle Heights. The Boyle Heights pilot was funded by the Gang Reduction Programme, part of the National Youth Gang Agency, whose remit is to identify ‘gang reduction zones’ characterised by high crime but also high citizen involvement. They then identify the series of steps required, from pre-natal through to criminal conviction and subsequent release from prison (echoing Professor Lösel’s chain reaction and its points of interruption in Theme A). There is primary Prevention, at population level; secondary, in schools; then intervention with young people, perhaps out of school. Next there is suppression, with those hard core gang members unwilling to change their lives. Then there is re-entry – for people coming out of prison, often to create more chaos in the community, especially so if they rejoin their gang. One of the key changes was to create a central agency with one person (an evangelical minister) in charge of all preventive action across LA. Summary conclusion of research into tackling gang violence The measures researched indicate that gang violence responds positively to a twopronged approach of (a) support coupled with firm supervision to ensure the support is not wasted, and (b) tough crackdown on the really criminal element, such as the arms or drug dealers at the top of the criminal pyramid. However, most attempts to replicate Boston’s success have not succeeded. It was Brojo Pillai’s conclusion that this disappointment resulted from most (if not all) of these attempts failing to remain faithful to the original model, especially the community involvement component.

4. Los Angeles (Boyle Heights) Like New York, Los Angeles faced a growing gang problem in the 1950s, and the LA Chief of Police opted for hard policing rather than the social work approach. 450,000 LA juveniles have been arrested in the last ten years – one of the operations was so intense the Red Cross offered residents disaster relief. The hard policing approach has not worked. By their own definition of gangs, last year LA had 49

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Message 11: Tackle the trigger factors making youngsters particularly vulnerable (e.g. being unoccupied, high alcohol consumption, family breakdown and social disadvantage) Changes in triggering factors associated with youth violence Research suggests part of the huge rise in violence in recent decades can be accounted for by a change in triggering factors affecting adolescents, including: 1. Less social control of adolescents, because of the increasing gap between males reaching puberty and starting work 2. Dramatic rise in teenage alcohol consumption 3. Growth in viewing electronic media modelling high levels of violence 4. Reduction in stable marital relationships (to provide consistent parenting and positive role models) 5. Mental health problems 6. Economic inequality To look at some of these in turn: (1) Less social control of adolescents, because of the increasing gap between reaching puberty and starting work Youth unemployment The 1999 social study by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation showed rates of unemployment were highest among teenage males: in particular over 40% of 16-17-yearolds from minority ethnic groups were unemployed, compared to only 18% of whites. This high teenage unemployment was closely associated with lack of qualifications obtained by early school leavers. Although the study is not recent, the pattern above is unlikely to have changed. Adolescence not a universal problem Research shows that the phenomenon of ‘problem adolescence’ is by no means universal, although there is a minor amount of evidence it was a problem in ancient Greece. Today, there could be as many as 60 communities around the world suffering so

few problems from their youngsters that many do not even have a word for ‘teenager’. In these less developed societies youngsters are not only socially adjusted, they display no particular personal problems.

Absence of age-related segregation
One significant factor in less ‘westernised’ societies is the absence of age-related segregation as teenagers are naturally integrated with adults. Working alongside adults from quite a young age exposes these youngsters to far fewer violence-triggering factors than their western counterparts. For instanc1e, they are unlikely to be unemployed or to have the time (or transport) to go and make trouble somewhere they are not known. They are more likely than young westerners to have the stabilising effects of early marriage-type relationships as well as wider social support from extended family. However, the key difference between such communities and both ancient Greece and modern western culture lies in their level of occupation: the ancients had slaves, leaving their emancipated youngsters idle. Today we have gadgets and unemployment. What youngsters say would work In reporting on the London Gangs, Gun and Knife Culture Project, Dr Theo Gavrielides told us young gang members are agreed that what would work to solve the problem is a combination of better youth employment prospects and better youth recreational facilities. Recreational violence The growing fashion for youths to engage in recreational violence is perhaps the most deadly legacy of not making enough provision for healthy youth activities. John Carnochan told the Conference that whether those involved in ‘recreational’ violence emerge as offenders or victims after any particular evening is totally random, making nonsense of setting up services for them as two categories.

Offender or victim? and ‘teachable moments’
In light of this realisation, nurses at Glasgow Dental Hospital have been trained to provide advice to these young men in a

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ground-breaking motivational intervention. The hospital deals with a new serious facial injury every six hours, 365 days a year, and 24% of those treated are repeat victims. Nurses deliver the brief programme during the ‘teachable moments’ – those key moments when the stitches are going in or coming out, when the jaw is being set, when the wire is going in or coming out – those times when people sometimes think, ‘Maybe I should change what I’m doing’. The same point could well be true in London’s ‘postcode wars’, between youngsters with nothing else to do, as covered in the Channel 4 Dispatches item mentioned above. The adoption of ‘teachable moment’ interventions outlined by John Carnochan present what Professor Lösel described as a point of interruption at quite a late stage in the chain reaction. (2) Rise in excessive teenage alcohol consumption Long-term trends in excessive youth alcohol consumption show sharp rises: offences of drunkenness amongst young males in England and Wales were 949 in 1959. By 1977 the level had risen to 4,920 – an increase of 518%. Female teenage drunkenness rose 749% in the same period. Although the percentage of pupils drinking has remained similar since the late 1980s, the quantity consumed by those drinking regularly has increased, as shown in the following table: Average units per week (those drinking) 2006 Age 1990 2000 11-13 yrs 5.6 10.1 11-15 yrs 5.3 10.4 11.4 Recent statistics show that over 45% of 1415 year olds had consumed more than five drinks on a single occasion during one 30day period. UK teenagers have high levels of intoxication and binge drinking (more than five drinks in a row) compared with their European counterparts. Youth drinking was already such a problem in 2004 that 3-4,000 (some as young as 11) were admitted to hospital for alcohol-related illness. The link to crime is demonstrated in a Manchester-based study of the associations

between alcohol and deviancy in young people: 25% of weekly drinkers had a criminal record compared with 6-7% of occasional and non-drinkers. The British Crime Survey 2005/06 shows that in England and Wales 44% of violent offenders were perceived to be under the influence of alcohol by their victims. Some delegates saw reviewing the easy availability of cheap alcohol as an opportunity for Government to play a stronger part in the fight against violence. Whatever method is chosen to achieve it, a reduction in excessive alcohol consumption by young people would clearly be nothing but beneficial. Since adults with a propensity towards violence can be dangerous when they drink too much, it is hardly surprising if youngsters with the same propensity, but far less developed tools and strategies for self-control, behave badly under the influence of high levels of alcohol. The following comment came from the 10,000 Volts workshop:

‘Public Health is moving towards focusing increased resources and capacity to prevent alcohol-related violence, pursuing the Prevention agenda’
(3) Media violence There is well-established research showing that violence in the media has little effect on most of the population but does have a significant adverse effect on the behaviour of those who have been brought up in a violent environment. Many delegates called for action to reduce the exposure to violence which has become the staple viewing diet amongst our young people.

‘Clamp down on the portrayal of violent gangs on internet sites’ ‘There is too much media promotion of violent lifestyles’ ‘The main constraint is the media role in depicting violence as glamorous’ There is a glamorisation of the “gangster” lifestyle in films, music and music videos, which depict those enjoying the high life as those who are

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the ‘bad boys’, and they attract the money, girls and “bling”’
(4) Reduction in stable marital relationships (to provide consistent parenting and positive role models) While family breakdown was not a major pre-Conference item (cited by only one delegate) research shows that crime in general is strongly correlated with family breakdown – 70% of young offenders are from lone parent families. This was echoed in Professor Lösel’s model, which described violence as a family matter starting early and continuing indefinitely, a cycle in which youngsters can appear as victims, perpetrators, or both. Here the image of ‘family’ needs to be expanded to embrace the surrogate family when a child is in foster care or in a Care Home. Happily, there are many points in that chain when youngsters can be helped to develop more positive outlets for their energies. (5) Mental health problems Some delegates suggested we need to address the significant role mental health plays in youth violence; to repeat a 10,000 Volts comment from page 20 above:

inequality. He found that young people consider crime, or youth violence, is not just a criminal justice problem, it actually reflects society’s failure, particularly on the issue of gangs, guns and knives. The focus on the word ‘crime’ ignores the culture that leads to that crime. The criminal justice system understands what it calls crime – a criminal act – but what the young people spoke about was the culture leading to that criminal act, a culture created by exclusion, poverty and inequality. Message 12: Consult and involve young people to find solutions to youth gang violence Involve young people directly Theo emphasised that the findings of the project were not just about young people, they were by young people, and one of their recommendations was about youth empowerment and youth leadership. They felt strongly that if policies and practices relating to young people are to be set up, young people will need to be involved directly, and that this needs to be a reality, not just a myth. They also went into issues of identity, and were very honest about materialism and ‘easy money’ as part of what drives the gang scene (gangs carry out more than half of London street robberies). Delegate comments supported the proposition that young people should be actively involved in the creation of solutions, for example:

‘There is nowhere near enough resource put into child mental health… when people end up in custody and have mental health problems which are not addressed, custody does not have the ability to deal with such people. If the resource was put it at a much earlier stage then maybe we could address this’
(6) Economic inequality A number of delegates made the point that there needs to be more effective action to reduce the economic inequality suffered by the most disadvantaged in our society.

‘Have a strategy of valuing, respecting and engaging young people’ ‘… engaging and working with young people who by virtue of their disaffection with the education system and disengagement from society have begun the slippery slope to gang involvement and an offending lifestyle’ ‘… There needs to be a move towards active participation with young people in the solutions, not assuming someone of my generation understands what it means to be 13 years old travelling in fear of being a victim of crime’

‘There also needs to be greater emphasis on reducing poverty … [and] on good quality housing and less on new skyscrapers, festivals and sports stadiums that will be white elephants’
Theo Gavrielides described Race on the Agenda as an organisation devoted to equality rather than criminal justice. He said his London Gangs, Gun and Knife Culture Project explored direct links between criminal justice, crime, youth violence and

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Message 13: Parents and the wider community can help reduce violence by working with agencies and services to protect young people Ten of the pre-Conference delegate suggestions related specifically to supporting and encouraging community initiatives. Importance of community – ‘it takes a whole village to bring up a child’ The availability of guns and knives is making youth violence potentially more fatal than ever before and adding to the urgency to protect youngsters themselves as well as society from the negative consequences of irresponsible behaviour during this phase. We heard many acknowledgements of the work already being done by voluntary organisations and members of the community. Putting more focus on fostering co-operation and trust between the community and the police could be valuable in combating violence. The examples of successful approaches to reducing gang violence (see Models for success above) show that when the whole community is presenting a united front on boundaries and limitations, youngsters’ behaviour improves significantly. It is also important that the stricter stance by the community is offset by wholesome alternative outlets for young energy. ‘Work local because of the global’ Another of the recommendations from the London Gangs, Gun and Knife Culture Project was ‘Work local because of the global’. While the young participants acknowledged that policy and legislation are very important, because they provide the essential framework, they also felt that real life is what is happening in local groups and in youth groups. Building Bridges Project One of the recommendations of the recently published House of Commons Home Affairs Report (paragraph 2.11) called for new strategies and new policies to be set up to involve young people. This is where ‘Building Bridges’ comes in.

Message 14: We need to provide more facilities and activities to fulfil young people’s need to be occupied and challenged Human brilliance in solving problems via technological advances has the malignant side-effect of consigning unemployed people to a life where there is less and less needing to be done in order to survive. If the consequent leisure is not offset by voluntary activity, the results can be dissatisfaction, frustration and, all too often, mischief. Such negative effects are magnified in young people with an abundance of energy needing to be discharged. Top recommendation by delegates With 74 mentions, providing more and better ‘Youth activities/support’ was the top recommended measure from delegates in the pre-Conference exercise. We heard concern that as gang problems have been increasing, availability of youth clubs and other activity facilities has been steadily decreasing. Suggestions to keep youths out of mischief ranged from boot camps and compulsory national service to supervised activities before and after the school day. There was a strongly expressed view in 10,000 Volts workshops that the activities need to have a large ‘development’ component (whether art, sport, educational or skills), and not be simply a ‘distraction’ offering. Some delegates saw the lead up to the 2012 Olympic Games as an ideal opportunity for many wholesome youth projects in the next few years. There were also numerous suggestions to improve emotional literacy by running specific awareness programmes in schools, more mentoring, better role models and a higher level of community/voluntary involvement with young people. Suggestions for specific curriculum and school focus improvements included teaching children how to associate positively and running parenting skills classes.

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Theme E – Shift the focus within Criminal Justice to Prevention and Rehabilitation If we place Health at the heart of it, how best could Criminal Justice do its part to support violence Prevention? Enforcement and tougher sentences 43 of the pre-Conference suggestions from delegates recommended more enforcement and tougher sentences, including: • • • • • • • • Substantially increase sentences for violent crime and possession of weapons Target gang leaders in special operations and, where possible, remove them from the streets Tough penalties for all offenders, include parents as appropriate Be ruthless regarding asset confiscation Ensure full use of stop-and-search powers by police Mandatory sentences for carrying guns or knives. Initially short and sharp – 3 strikes Tougher penalties and zero tolerance Restorative justice Perception that crime is ‘cool’ This was a very real concern. In a culture lacking a structured and balanced family life, the street gang can easily become an alternative ‘family’ where disaffected youngsters earn credit and recognition for brutality. In London, a significant amount of robbery is committed by gang members, making them a menace to society at large as well as to each other. In contrast, the gangs of Glasgow are almost exclusively devoted to ‘recreational’ violence, to the extent of inter-gang battles being arranged by the leaders as though they were regular sports fixtures. However, recreational violence is increasingly catching on in the form of London ‘post code wars’. Message 15: Need for greater Police focus on Prevention

A small minority of delegates, mainly police officers, favoured a prime focus on a tougher approach to violent crime, with more severe (and certain) punishments. However the majority of those wanting a tough approach called for it to be combined with much more robust preventive measures, while others wanted the tough approach focused only on the more extreme offenders such as drug dealers and gang leaders. A 2006 European Communities study A review of good practices in preventing the various types of violence in the European Union reviewed the impact of prisons and found:

‘... and as soon as you define that problem in that way [child protection] you realise that enforcement, however good, is only a holding operation. It’s necessary but too late. I can tell you that we will, as the Metropolitan Police, dedicate all our skills of intelligence gathering, disruption, covert operations, displacement activity, but it will not be enough. Nor will community involvement and mediation, however necessary, be enough. What we’ve got to understand – and I’m sure we all do in this room – is that the problems lie much earlier, in family dysfunction, in educational under-achievement, in peer pressure, in lack of role models’
Sir Ian Blair Many delegates commented on the need for police to be more focused on preventive work, rather than just in waiting for crime to happen and then catching the offenders. There was repeated mention of the potential for police to play a proactive role in or with schools, for example: • Promote community policing e.g. police based in secondary schools

‘… little evidence that imprisonment has the desired effect in deterring or rehabilitating offenders’
It did, however, find a beneficial impact from well-designed rehabilitation programmes.

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• •

• • • • •

More collaboration between schools, police probation and Youth Offending Teams (YOTs) Introduce mandatory schools police officers in all secondary schools where they would be based with an additional requirement to deliver Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE) to a catchment area of junior schools Place police officers and Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) within all secondary schools and ensure contact with all primary schools Greater police presence on streets More police emphasis on prevention and less on the hundreds of hours filling in forms Partnership work in Schools – including Safer Schools police officers Early intervention with ASB (antisocial behaviour) and crime Make it compulsory for schools to tackle anti-social behaviour and crime in partnership with the police Message 16: Need for radical shift towards prison as rehabilitation

Sir Ian made the following observation:

‘…particularly I think we have to look with our partners in the prison service about what we do about the inadequacy of support to gang members as they enter and leave prison.’
Custodial sentences might well be the best we have to offer in the case of truly dangerous people, especially those at the top

of the crime pyramid – the real criminal culprits in drugs and arms dealing. However, unless we can lock these offenders up forever, if incarceration is not combined with effective rehabilitation all we are achieving is an expensive interval before they return to the streets to take up where they left off. In this context, the current over-population of youth offender facilities is not simply a reflection of the inadequacy of that system, it carries the dangerous consequence of youngsters being placed in prisons for adults, sharing cells with (and sometimes becoming the victims of) hardened criminals. There is plenty of evidence that Rehabilitation works, including the prison work of Dr Bob Johnson in Parkhurst and of George Hosking at Brixton, Parkhurst and Wandsworth, who both found that prisoners can be cured of the impulse to be violent by, for instance, treatment for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Delivery of rehabilitation is a very patchy affair though and, as we heard from John Carnochan, even in one Scottish prison which does offer a violence rehabilitation programme, an offender needs to have done something serious enough to earn a 4-year stretch before ‘qualifying’. The like-for-like comparison of recent history in New York and Los Angeles given above shows the twin-track social work approach works far more effectively than harsh enforcement on young gang members. While tough enforcement measures against those supplying drugs or firearms to the gang are also indicated, the gang members themselves can often be rehabilitated into a pro-social way of life by help and support with housing or employment, or some other pressing social problem.

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Theme F – Shift government strategy to proactive, long-term funding and planning to reduce violence

‘Governments should ensure that children are properly cared for, and protect them from violence, abuse and neglect by their parents, or anyone else who looks after them’
Article 19 of The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child

Moving in the right direction

Sure Start Children’s Centres
Government has recently been making a very encouraging shift towards a holistic, family-centred approach by, for instance, the introduction of Sure Start Children’s Centres, with a target of establishing 3,500 centres to reach all communities by 2110. The initiative aims to give children a better start in life by supporting the whole family across a range of services, most of which were traditionally provided by Health, Education, Employment and Social Services The initial centres are being targeted at the 20% most disadvantaged areas to act as a service hub within the community. Their offering includes classes on English as a second language, basic skills and parenting. They also provide a base for childminder networks as well as links to other day-care provision and out-of-school clubs.

‘There is no excuse for the fourth richest country of the world to have some 550,000-570,000 children referred to Child Protection and be able to place only 37,200 of them on the Child Protection Register.’ … and posed the following question: ‘What happens to the other 500,000 plus children left outside the doors of our agencies? There is no excuse to have local psychiatrists be told that they cannot deal with emotional difficulties any more and that they should only take on psychiatric disorders that are chemically originated. Anyone who knows anything about child psychiatry knows that the bulk of the problem in children is emotional, as a result of poor attachments. These are the systemic crimes we commit that contribute to the fact that our children turn to savagery in order to survive.’
The pre-Conference consultation and the 10,000 Volts workshop also strongly recommended more funding and better management of funding, for example:

Targeted Youth Support (TYS)
This initiative in the ‘Youth Matters’ green paper (2005) sets out a vision of integrated youth support services helping all young people achieve the 5 ‘Every Child Matters’ outcomes. The integrated delivery for vulnerable teenagers is central to the vision and aims to ensure needs are identified early and met by agencies working together effectively, in ways shaped by the views and experiences of the youngsters themselves. Multi-agency partnership was also the idea behind YOTs. It will take strong leaders in true interagency partnership to drive systemic changes to enable these positive government moves to produce long-term, lasting success. Message 17: Long-term success will take a shift to long-term planning and funding Camila Batmanghelidjh drew attention to one glaring gap in funding:

‘Funding is often short-term. A 3-year cycle is inadequate when you are trying to turn around attitudes – rather like turning around an ocean liner. To get results we will need to wait 15-20 years but the irony is we would reap the benefits. Had this been implemented 15 years ago we would not be having this conference or this problem’ ‘Lack of funding for innovative projects and very difficult funding processes for what is available, linked to too many “empire-building” egos involved with the existing funding streams, can result in funds not reaching the most potentially effective initiatives’

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‘Statutory bodies such as the Government Office for London and Youth Justice Board could take a more enabling role with Local Authorities in overseeing the development of projects and funding streams to ensure [LA senior managers] cannot siphon off important money which could be better used for cutting edge projects’
Proactive vs reactive approaches to handling the problem of violence The 16-year-old brandishing a knife or a gun presents a visible threat that demands an immediate reaction. Whole armies of youths at war with each other and with society at large present such a serious threat that the reaction even stretches to major conferences devoted to solving the problem. However, when a very small child is treated with brutality, abuse or neglect behind closed doors, the threat can be invisible because the consequences will not be felt (in society) for many years. The proactive measures involved in identifying whether this particular threat even exists appear intrusive and go against our cultural grain. Also, by their very nature, such measures sit outside the realms of individual agencies’ performance targets and measured results. The business management term for the reactive/short-term vs proactive/long-term pattern of problem-solving is ‘fire-fighting’. The problem the Conference sought to resolve is that if enough proactive measures are not put in place, the whole of the available resource can eventually be fully occupied in reacting – for how can we find the time and resource to replace combustible material with fire-proofed material in the middle of an inferno? The challenge is to do both. We need to react effectively to the inferno of youth violence at the same time as putting in place proactive, preventive measures to stop fuelling the flames. It has been estimated that 30% of people who are abused or neglected when young go on to abuse or neglect their own children, escalating the scale of the problem generation upon generation or, as Professor David Farrington puts it:

‘Anti-social children grow up to become anti-social adults who go on to raise anti-social children’
Message 18: Importance of what we measure, because ‘what gets measured gets managed’ UNICEF cites measurement as the prerequisite for bringing about improvement and gives this as the reason for their annual measurement of youth wellbeing. John Carnochan made a similar point, stressing that, in our target-ridden culture, anything that is not measured is unlikely to be managed – or changed. A 20-year violence reduction strategy will be of little use if the people making the dayto-day decisions are driven by (and judged on) time horizons of 2-3 years. This conflict in agendas can be resolved with techniques to detect movements in trends at early points in a process: instead of needing to wait a decade for tangible outcomes of improved practices, shifts can be predicted by relatively short term changes. Present focus is on the middle ground rather than where most needed The current measurement system encourages universal services to serve the middle ground, rather than those who most need it and the traditional target framework supports this gravitational pull. While there is broad support at policy, senior management and operational level for inclusive approaches, implementation is left to individual initiative. This is especially true in the crucial pre-school years. Gaps in measurement

Need to address all violence, not just what is classified as Criminal
John Carnochan warned that the true level of violence is far worse than statistics reflect, because we currently measure this solely in terms of reported crime. Since we know that only 30% of the violence turning up for hospital treatment in Scotland is ever reported to the police, we can work out that a significant percentage of overall violence goes unrecorded in the criminal reporting system. There is no reason to believe this pattern varies much throughout the UK.

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To obtain a more accurate picture, the measuring system needs to be expanded to include non-accidental injuries showing up at hospitals, clinics, dentists and surgeries. Schools and other group establishments could also be included in the reporting system. A free-phone service installed recently in hospitals throughout Strathclyde produces an extra 100 reports of violence each month.

Unreported crimes, including violence
Post-Conference research supports John Carnochan’s conviction that much violence goes unreported and unrecorded in official statistics. For example, in an article in Police Professional (Issue 101, 6 March 2008) Ian Johnston, Chief Constable of the British Transport Police, recommends the overhaul of the British Crime Survey statistics (which, for instance, exclude all crimes among those under 16). In the same interview, Mr Johnston added his support for the estimate that 60% of all crime is not reported to the police (Crime Statistics: an Independent Review, carried out for the Home Secretary and published in November 2006).

not received this at school), to tracking youngsters from conception or pre-birth through to leaving school, to ensure they were being treated in a way that fostered empathy and pro-social development. Once children reached school age, their social adjustment as well as their educational performance would be routinely monitored. Quite simply, it would be a transformative move in society, placing the responsibility for child welfare at the top of the agenda in order to stem the flow of anti-social and violent people at source.

Outcomes not measured
The graded increase in youth offending suggests the lack of an effective Prevention agenda. Yet research shows there is a belief amongst some local government professionals that good practice is in place and good progress being made. This may be true for the universal services (which serve more than 95% of the population) but data on improvements for the vulnerable are scarce and, when available, tend to focus on process rather than change. The lack of measurement of change (i.e. outcomes) reduces the drive to find and use evidencebased programmes.

Early-onset offenders not targeted because they are not monitored
The most dangerous, persistent (usually lifelong) offenders are those in whom childhood damage leads to early onset (preteens) violent offending. Later onset (teenage) problems and delinquency are often outgrown, allowing the youngsters to go on to lead productive lives. It could therefore be strategically vital to be able to distinguish between these two groups and to treat them entirely differently when they first offend. The early-onset children need special support, probably including PTSD and anger management counselling, and the timely delivery of such support could greatly reduce the probability of continued offending as well as the likelihood of these youngsters giving rise to ‘the next generation of anti-social children’. It is recommended that all early onset children are regarded as victims and placed on the ‘at risk’ register. Tackling this issue has huge implications and would involve a plethora of measures, from mandatory parent training for school children (or to expectant parents who had

School violence not measured
As noted above, despite government guidelines urging schools to measure and report all instances of bullying, the reality appears to be that there is significant underreporting by schools. Gaps in measurement lead to gaps in responsibility While the present trend is moving towards joined-up working, there can be a lack of continuity over bands of age groups (from conception to age 18) between agencies. Although there is good integration across agencies at many levels, there is a noticeable disconnect between the agencies involved in the earlier years (conception to age 10) and the subsequent years (age 10 to 18). Families served by Children’s Centres are unlikely to be the same families served by Social Care. A child recently assigned a custodial sentence was not known to YOT until his first offence at age 13, yet primary school records show he had led a gang fight when he was 10. Because of this gap in the system, a child whose mother suffers from

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depression, whose brother has been referred to Social Care in the past and whose father has had complaints of domestic violence in a previous relationship, might receive no intervention. Message 19: True inter-agency partnership plus strong local leadership are essential for success Leadership vs managing Delivering on a proactive violence reduction strategy will take strong leadership. John Carnochan drew a distinction between leaders and typical managers:

carry out which services and functions. However, the following brief selection of typical comments from the 10,000 Volts workshop shows the lack of clarity that can exist about exact roles and responsibilities:

‘How do you plan to involve Health? Who in Health? Is it PCTs? As someone from Health, I am interested’ ‘Excellent question – the focus on “health” displays the lack of knowledge that exists about the Health set-up. In fact, a similar lack of knowledge usually exists re “local authorities” (which are hugely diverse and often have their own organisational and internal communication issues) and the Police (likewise)’ ‘A good starting point would be to expand our understanding of different partner agencies so we can build more effective partnerships. Often the CDRPs are too narrow to make a genuine impact on these kind of issues and we need to work through other LSP boards’
Holistic approach One of the 3 key findings from Dr Theo Gavrielides’ London Gangs, Gun and Knife Culture Project is that the problem is so complex it needs to be addressed holistically. It is not just an issue of Police officers, or of social workers, or of housing officers; it is an issue of health service providers, and also of the voluntary and community sector, and is about creating multi-agency partnerships. Take account of global research The third recommendation from Dr Gavrielides project is ‘work local’, but use findings from European and international studies to inform practices and enable people at the local level to make a change. Structure the alliance for success A key requirement for the type of successful multi-agency partnership implied in recent initiatives is for everyone involved to be working together to an agreed standard of what constitutes success. The reminder that there is no such thing as a conflict-free zone highlights one element of the challenge inherent in the vision of all agencies

‘We have to have leaders that don’t just lead within their authority, because that’s managers. Leaders are people who step out with their authority and do things; that stand on a balcony and lean over and take a chance. So you need to encourage them doing that’
John’s presentation stimulated very positive feedback from delegates, and the following typical quotes serve to underline the importance of inspirational leadership:

‘Person with passion [John Carnochan]. Never underestimate what committed people can do TOGETHER’ ‘Motivational speech that hits on some key areas including organisations failing to work together and responding to a crisis after it has happened with young people rather than identifying issues, putting measures in place to prevent, or work through real issues today...’
Multi-agency partnership

‘And what we need, particularly in London but I believe in all the major cities of the UK, is a grand alliance – from Education, Social Services, Police, academia, the voluntary sector, general justice organisations – to look at the whole picture, to understand gang membership to be a child protection issue’ Sir Ian Blair
Need for clear understanding of roles True inter-agency partnership will involve clarity about which agencies are meant to

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working in harmony towards common goals. A very telling instance of the type of issue involved came from a delegate:

John Carnochan gave us an example of what is involved in agencies working together towards something beyond their individual agendas:

‘Hospitals do not buy into the CDRP as much as the police or local authority because they do not get as much out of the return. We need to identify a common thread between all CDRP members so that everyone who brings something to the discussion table also takes something away. If the PCT sat at NIM TTCG meetings and, instead of citing patient confidentiality, told police which clubs people were being assaulted at on a Friday and Saturday night those areas could be policed, the LA could invoke extra lighting and CCTV and the hospital queues would be reduced’
The 2005 WAVE Report sought to resolve the problem by inviting debate on the merits of a focused, National Violence Prevention Agency to coordinate, fund and drive effective Prevention strategies.

‘… So, the challenge for us is how we work together, and that’s the difficult stuff, the uncomfortable truth, the notion that there isn’t such a thing as a conflict-free zone because of all those little things – your funding, your idea, your group, your borough…We need to stop that. When we had our first meeting with Glasgow Local Authority, we had a room and on the door we put a sign that said “Egos cloakroom”’
Understanding what the problems are, or why they came about, or even what needs to happen to stop them continuing, will not be enough unless we also have the soundest possible working methods. Some of what it will take to succeed implies changes in policy, attitude and culture. The undertaking is massive, but it has to be started because the alternative is too bleak to contemplate.

The following slide from John Carnochan’s presentation gives an overview of some components of the challenge in matrix form:

INDIVIDUAL PRIMARY •PIPPIN (U) •Early Years Education •Roots of Empathy (U) •Triple-P (U) and (T)

RELATIONSHIP •Nurse Family Partnership (T) •PALS (U) and (T) •Anti Bullying programmes

COMMUNITY Community Engagement – ask and Involve and Deliver

SOCIETY •Changing acceptability of Violence against Children •National Strategy on Parenting and early years. •Violence as Public Health Issue and associated action. •Surveillance (U) •Anti Bullying Programmes Citizenship (U) •Public Health Campaign (U) •Alcohol Policy

SECONDARY

•S.S.P.C. •SNAP (T) – Under 12’s •Violence Is Preventable (U)

•SNAP – (T) – Parent and child •Relationship counselling (T) •PATHS

•Diversion activity •Role Models •Campus Officers •Community action around significant events – murders. •Reducing alcohol availability •Routes into work (U and T) Community Court (T) •Swift Justice (T) •Test Purchase •Safe city centres •Tackling Territoriality

TERTIARY

•Violence (COVAID) •Anger Management (T) •Victim support (T) •BMI – Alcohol (T) •RSVP – (T) – Jail based •Knife Searches (T) •Violence Help lines

•Relationship counselling •Restorative Justice (T) •Routes out of Gangs •Tackling Domestic Violence

•Raising domestic violence awareness •Legislation (U)

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13% of pre-Conference suggestions related to co-operation, partnership and working methods (in order of numbers of mentions): • • • • • • • • Improved Partnership Government strategy Listen more to young people More support for Police Identify effective programmes and support their adoption Intelligence-sharing More support for child witnesses Training of a dedicated, professional work force

There is an organisation structure aimed at optimal co-operation between previously alien functions which could equally be applied to multi-agency co-operation. In this, a layer of people whose role is to work together cross-culturally and crossfunctionally is included in the structure. These people then act as bridges between their ‘native’ team and the ‘alien’ functions. To give John Carnochan the final word on the quality of commitment it will take to reverse the trend in youth violence:

For partnership to succeed, any culture of blame or responsibility-shifting amongst the agencies involved must be sacrificed. One way to secure this would be through the type of reward scheme practised in industry, linking a proportion of everyone’s bonus solely to the success of the overall strategy.

‘We need to aspire. We absolutely need to plan to build cathedrals – not garden sheds. And if we’re going to fail, let’s fail absolutely spectacularly, because we’re not going to make it worse. Young people that are there today deserve you if you’re doing your absolute best, because we’ve all got a responsibility for how we arrived at this’

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© WAVE Trust 2008 First published in 2008 by WAVE Trust Cameron House, 61 Friends Road, Croydon, Surrey CR0 1ED England Tel: 020 8688 3773 Fax: 020 8688 6135 e-mail: office@wavetrust.org Website www.wavetrust.org ISBN-13:978-0-9551615-1-3