On Wednesday 4th July, the APPG, together with the Youth Violence Commission, hosted world leading experts on violence reduction, Charlie Ransford and Karyn McCluskey, in Parliament for a public event discussing the need to treat the UK’s rise in knife crime and violence as an “epidemic health problem”.
Charlie Ransford, Director of Science and Policy at Chicago-based Cure Violence, and Karyn McCluskey, founder and former Director of Scotland’s Violence Reduction Unit, explained their pioneering success in reducing violence in Chicago and Scotland respectively. Cure Violence, one of the world’s leading anti-violence NGOs cut shootings in Chicago by up to 73%, and the Scottish Violence Reduction Unit has halved homicides in Scotland. They also advised campaigners how to replicate a similar model to tackle the UK’s rising levels of violence.
The two speakers urged politicians and campaigners to shift the approach to youth violence towards a health model: recognising that violence is contagious and to immunise young people who have higher risk of criminality or victimisation due to their environments.
The discussion involved around 100 attendees including MPs, Shadow Ministers, the Deputy London Mayor for Policing and Crime, charities, community organisations and young people. Sarah Jones MP, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Knife Crime, called on the audience for new ideas to solve violence at a national, regional and community level.
Following the public meeting, the APPG also held a private roundtable with experts to further explore the issues raised. These calls to treat violence as a public health emergency were recognised by both the Government and the Mayor of London later in 2018 – the latter announcing the creation of a Violence Reduction Unit in London.