House of Commons - Addressing Gang Culture Through Community Action

Feb 10, 2016 · Greater London, United Kingdom

Join us in the House of Commons where Stephen Timms MP has agreed to host a meeting for us on the problem of Gang culture and how we can address it within our communities.

This meeting will look at examples of engagement where members of gangs are being engaged through film and drama. It will discuss with audience participation what others are doing to tackle knife crime and violence and it will discuss what needs to be done politically.
Gang violence has soared in London in the past 12 months despite a hardline US-style crackdown on gang members launched earlier this year. 
Latest figures show significant rises in two key measurements of gang activity in the last year — knife crime with injury involving victims under the age of 15, up by 22 per cent, and gun discharges, up by 16 per cent.
At this meeting Stephen Timms will give a political overview, Benoit Chaves will then talk about the work of his innovative charity VC & CHANCE. This will be followed by a short extract from a film made by gang members through Benoit’s organisation. And then we will have one other speaker who will discuss what can be done.
There will be plenty of time for discussion and we hope to have broadly based audience of our own members, people working with gangs, young people who have been involved in gangs and students.
Stephen Timms is a Member of Parliament deeply interested in this topic as he survived a knife attack in his surgery in 2010. He was a Minister in the Treasury in the last Labour Government. Stephen is now a backbench MP.

Benoit Chaves founded VC & CHANCE in the summer of 2014. They have chosen to utilize theatre and film as tools to address some of the toughest issues we face in the 21th century and to create awareness on such issues nationally and internationally.

Ian Joseph will also speak and  initially trained as a teacher but subsequent to leaving the profession has over 25 years applied research and evaluation experience, producing a wide range of policy directed studies in a variety of university, government and community settings. With a special interest in youth deviance, service effectiveness, community safety and crime prevention, he is widely published, spoken extensively and developed various service interventions aimed at tackling gangs and serious youth violence He is currently a senior research fellow at Middlesex University Department of Criminology and Sociology.

We will have an excerpt from their latest film made with gang members.
About 199 gangs are known to be operating in London involving around 3,800 gang members. These gangs are responsible for 20 per cent of all violent crime in the capital and 40 per cent of London shootings. So far this year nine teenagers have been murdered in London — a number of them in suspected gang violence. 
Family breakdown, poverty, poor housing, addiction, educational failure, crime, violence and unemployment create gang members.  What is needed is "tough and intelligent engagement" that deals with these root issues, offers positive relationships and role-models, and provides alternatives that lead to a long-term, sustainable answer to gangs.

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