Youth-led models of policy & practice for tackling gangs & serious youth violence Empowering Young People to Influence Policy & Practice
Presenters • Dr. Theo Gavrielides, Director of IARS, firstname.lastname@example.org • Rachel Cass, Senior Youth Project Officer of IARS, email@example.com Empowering Young People to Influence Policy & Practice
Do any of the following have a realistic understanding of the causal factors of gang culture? Source: StreetGov (2007) ‘Street Crime – Perspectives from Young People’ Wilmslow, Cheshire: CiResearch Empowering Young People to Influence Policy & Practice
What is Independent Academic Research Studies (IARS)? • A youth-led social policy think-tank that was set up in 2001 to empower and give voice to young people so that they can influence policy and democratically engage in society as equal citizens. We: • Work with marginalised young people to enable them to have a voice and influence local, regional, and national policy and practice • Provide training, guidance and accreditation to enable young people to undertake research for evidence based youth policy. • Encourage young people to use the useful results of that research to increase awareness and understanding of the issues which affect them. Empowering Young People to Influence Policy & Practice
“Youth-led” and “youth” policy and practice • Youth led: Young people contribute meaningfully and see their contributions translated to tangible outcomes. Different to “youth work”. • Youth led policy and practice: • Addresses power imbalance between young people and adult professionals. • Draws on young people’s real experiences to inform practical outcomes. • Promotes young people’s choice in how they participate. Empowering Young People to Influence Policy & Practice
How is IARS youth-led? • Steered by young people - Youth Advisory Group. • Young people decide on the focus of their work. • Young people are supported to develop their own ideas and explore them through robust research and policy work. • Groups e.g. Youth Advisory Board are self organised. • Space for feedback and staff response to feedback. Empowering Young People to Influence Policy & Practice
Models of youth-led practices and policy relating to gangs and serious youth violence • The Youth Advisory Board of the LSYVB/ MPS (IARS project) • The Building Bridges Project (ROTA and IARS project) • Boyhood to Manhood, Calling the shots • London Youth Now Project (IARS) • Youth Empowerment Project (IARS) • Young Justice Champions Project (IARS) • Safe Choices (nia project) Empowering Young People to Influence Policy & Practice
IARS and the London Serious Youth Violence Board Project • Youth Advisory Board (YAB): In partnership with GLA, Waltham Forest Council, Prince’s Trust, Southwark Young Advisors, Leap Confronting Conflict and Core Plan UK. • 13 young people, trained to advise and influence the LSYVB over the period of a year. • Help steer on certain issues within a short space of time, e.g. violence at house parties and other unlicensed gatherings. • Produce evidence based recommendations for a specific issue over 12 month period – serious youth violence between 3pm and 6pm. Empowering Young People to Influence Policy & Practice
IARS and the London Serious Youth Violence Board Project • Self managed – led and organised by YAB members, supported by IARS staff. • Research to be carried out this summer. • Final evidence based recommendations will be published in IARS’ forthcoming Youth Voice Journal. Empowering Young People to Influence Policy & Practice
Unpacking “gang culture”: - A culture of fear: this can alter a young persons’ view of their surroundings and other young people who they come across. - A culture of deprivation and poverty: Marginalised social groups make up the bulk of the statistics of offenders and victims of violent crime. - A culture of masculinities and materialism: Young people and especially young males subscribe to a culture where displays of power and strength are very important to their social standing. - A culture of belonging and exclusion: The desire amongst young people for solidarity, trust, friendship and security are just some of the factors that lead to the formation of peer groups.
Unpacking “culture” in “gang culture” • A culture of control: This is wide-ranging and informs the political climate, the state’s ideology, media representations and public perceptions of crime and criminals. • Youth culture – This culture is the product of numerous sub-cultures, it still needs to be noted. Young people are perceived as being separate from the rest of society; this is a perception held by civil society in general, but to an extent has been internalised by young people.
Recommendation of the Home Affairs Committee, 2007 (paragraph 211) “In drawing up a strategy on young black people’s overrepresentation, the Government should ensure young people themselves are consulted, and that local and national organisations ensure young people’s views are systematically taken into account in forming and evaluating policy”. Empowering Young People to Influence Policy & Practice
Three messages from IARS • Promotion of youth-led solutions to serious youth violence. • Partnership working; recognising the value of drawing on the expertise of other organisations. • Establishing specialist services where gaps have been identified. Empowering Young People to Influence Policy & Practice
Independent Academic Research Studies (IARS) Waterloo Business Centre 117 Waterloo Road, London SE1 8UL Office line 20 7960 0219, Fax: 020 7921 0036 www.iars.org.uk Empowering Young People to Influence Policy & Practice