Press release

£9.8 million fund to confront knife crime and gang culture

Community-backed projects in 21 areas will receive funding to help families who are vulnerable to the effects of knife crime and gang culture.

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  • Over £9.5 million will be provided to support children and families vulnerable to knife crime and gang culture, with a further £300,000 available to train frontline staff
  • Funding will help support earlier interventions to turn young people away from gangs and crime
  • This new funding will be channelled through the Troubled Families programme which works with vulnerable families

Community-backed projects in 21 areas across England will each receive a share of £9.5 million to help families who are vulnerable to the devastating effects of knife crime and gang culture, Communities Secretary Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP confirmed today (22 February 2019).

The Supporting Families Against Youth Crime fund will enable keyworkers, community groups, teachers and other professionals working with children and young people at risk, to intervene early and help stop them from becoming drawn into gang crime, serious violence and the youth justice system.

A further £300,000 will also be available for local authorities across England to train frontline staff on how to tackle childhood trauma. This follows evidence that many who are vulnerable to serious violence and youth crime have experienced childhood trauma that has affected their mental health and confidence.

Knife crime continues to be a real concern for communities across the country and this government is determined to act and keep our streets safe. These latest preventative measures form part of the government’s ongoing Serious Violence Strategy.

Communities Secretary, Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP, said:

Carrying a knife should never be a rite of passage. For too long, it has been normalised behaviour for too many teenagers in our communities.

Every violent incident, every injury, every young life lost is a tragedy that has devastating consequences for all involved.

The early intervention strategies set out by the projects we are funding offer real alternatives to children and young people who may otherwise become involved in gang crime.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid said:

Too many young people think carrying a knife is their only option. It is important to invest in their future and provide positive activities to help steer them away from a dangerous path.

Tackling the root causes of serious violence needs a multi-agency approach and the together with key partners and the community, the government is determined to prevent young people being drawn into crime in the first place.

This fund continues to build upon the government’s Serious Violence Strategy, which focuses on early intervention alongside a strong law enforcement response.

This new funding will help enable the voluntary and community sector to intervene earlier to help young people develop the personal resilience to withstand peer pressure and make their own positive life choices.

The areas and projects being funded have expressed both an existing need and or evidence of emerging needs and cover a range of positive interventions.

Some are heavily school focused, working with children before they make the important transition from primary to secondary school. Whilst others will work with smaller groups of young people already at high risk.

The funding will also back more in-depth work with parents, carers and professionals to help them fully understand the risk factors and the dangers of their children being exposed to gang culture.

It is intended that the learning derived from each of the projects will be shared nationally. Guidance will also be produced that can be used to demonstrate how this proven approach can reduce levels of need following intervention.

Tackling the impact of violent crime is an absolute priority for this government and we have taken urgent and unprecedented action.

Today’s announcement continues the work of the ambitious programme of work backed by £220 million of funding which puts greater focus on steering young people away from a life of crime.

This includes a £22 million Early Intervention Youth Fund which will be spent over 2 years and a £1.5 million Anti-Knife Crime Community Fund.

As part of these further measures to intervene early, this spring will also see the launch of the next phase of #knifefree. The campaign, aimed at young people, looks to inspire them to pursue positive alternatives.

Further information

The Supporting Families Against Youth Crime Fund (SFAYC) was launched on 20 October 2018.

See more information about the 21 areas set to receive funding: SFAYC successful areas (PDF, 110KB, 2 pages) .

The current Troubled Families Programme was rolled out in England in April 2015 and replaced the first programme which had been in place since 2012. The programme will continue support for disadvantaged families with complex problems and will work with up to 400,000 families by 2020.

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Published 22 February 2019