The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has announced a £4.7 million investment in London’s Violence Reduction Unit (VRU).

Funding will be used by the VRU to help schools reduce exclusion rates and provide support for young people making the transition from primary to secondary school. Programmes will be targeted at schools located in areas that have seen high levels of serious youth violence.

With research showing that violent incidents involving young people are more likely to happen at the end of the school day, the VRU will fund additional provision for the after-school period.

The Unit will also work to equip teachers and other school staff with the knowledge, skills and confidence to identify and support young people at risk of violence or of becoming victims of it.

Young people aged from nine to 18 will be helped to build healthy relationships through peer support, workshops and – where necessary – specialist support.

With regard to supporting vulnerable young people in their transition from primary to secondary school, the Stepping Stones programme will provide activities such as summer schools and peer mentoring.

“The best way to prevent crime is before it occurs,” the Mayor explained. “We need a joined-up approach with local authorities given more responsibility over school exclusions and off-rolling to ensure they aren’t misused.”

For the Violence Reduction Unit, Director Lib Peck said that the projects being funded will keep young people safe during the hours after school, and help to steer vulnerable young people at risk of becoming involved in violence onto a more positive path.

“This is about a long-term and lasting change to our society that puts the futures of our young people first,” she concluded.

Last reviewed 26 November 2019