Over 1,640 children and young people have shared their perceptions around violence, community safety, social and digital media and violence against women and girls as part of an engagement exercise led by Staffordshire Council of Voluntary Youth Services (SCVYS), on behalf of the Violence Reduction Alliance (VRA).
The exercise has enabled the VRA, which includes Staffordshire Police, local authorities, health, education and third sector organisations, to better understand the views and concerns of 11-25-year-olds living in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent. It will also be used to help shape how the partnership can work together to improve young people’s safety and wellbeing.
Key findings from the online engagement exercise include:
- 89% of young people said they do not think it’s normal for young people to carry a knife in their home area
- 52% of young people said more CCTV would help them to feel safer
- 88% of young people reported that they generally felt safe in their home area during the day, but this reduced to 44% during hours of darkness
Police, Fire & Rescue and Crime Commissioner and Chair of the VRA, Ben Adams said: “It is important that children and young people are given the opportunity to have a voice on the things that matter to them. I am pleased to see that a high number of young people from across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent have engaged and shared their views and concerns through this exercise.
“The findings and recommendations from this report will help to inform partners and partner agencies of the concerns children and young people have around violence and community safety. The report will also allow the VRA to better utilise recently received funding from the government’s Serious Violence Duty to help young people living in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent to live happy and fulfilling lives.”
Over the next three years, the VRA will receive almost £970,000 via the Serious Violence Duty to help build on existing services and develop new initiatives where gaps have been identified. Earlier this year, the VRA became responsible for the delivery of the government’s Serious Violence Duty which requires services to work together to plan, share data, knowledge and intelligence to produce a strategy to prevent and reduce serious violence in the area.
CEO of Staffordshire Council of Voluntary Youth Services, Phil Pusey said: “This is an important topic for young people based on the numbers responding and their desire to suggest solutions. They are clearly asking for more support to help them feel they are safe and that they are a valued part of their communities, especially at night.
“It’s critical that we provide enough of the right kind of safe places to go, positive and adventurous things to do and trusted adults such as youth workers to talk to.”
Read the full report on Young People’s Perceptions of Violence in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent here.