Over recent years, increasing instances of violence among young people have been making headlines, particularly those involving knives and guns. Many of these crimes take place in the densely populated urban areas of London where deprivation, inequality and social injustice are drivers of violence and exploitation.
Metropolitan Police data suggests that in 2021 there were more than 500 victims per month of “the most serious violence” including murder, attempted murder and assault, leaving those affected with lifelong trauma. County lines drug running is another growing problem in the city.
Victims of these issues are often marginalised or ignored, and traditional support models fail to address the multiple levels of disadvantage faced by many young people including racial structural disadvantage.
In April 2020, Safer London launched a new strategy – A Safer London for Everyone: People, Peers, and Places – to provide one-to-one support which is trauma-informed and underpinned by strong, trusted relationships. The aim was to mitigate the negative impacts on those affected by violence and exploitation, and reduce the chances of re-victimisation and/or reoffending.
As part of the strategy, delivery teams have been restructured to reflect three key themes: providing trusted individual support; enabling young Londoners to support and be supported by their peers; and ensuring that the places where young Londoners spend their time are safe and positive.
Along with developing a strategy around equity, diversity and inclusion and connecting with a peer network for victims, Safer London has overhauled its in-house specialisms in areas including mental health, housing advocacy, and sexual violence. Through a cohesive “one front door” approach, all referrals are now screened and allocated to the most appropriate service area.
Since implementation of the new casework model, outcome measurement tools have been introduced to track individuals’ progress, with 93% reporting an increased feeling of safety, 83% reporting increased ability to access housing or housing support, and 83% reporting a reduction in being affected by violence.
Charity Awards judge Martin Edwards praised the way the charity involved its service users in decision-making, and was impressed with its impact.
Judge Chris Sherwood commended the charity’s use of contextual safeguarding, which he described as “a new model of safeguarding looking at people’s social networks rather than just their family. The fact that they’re embedding that within the model was really good.”
CC Reg no. 1109444