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‘After the Riots’

Thursday 29th March 2012

Leap welcomes the recommendations in ‘After the Riots’ particularly the focus on those between 18 and 24 and the call for the building of personal resilience in young people.

Yesterday, the Riots Communities and Victims Panel launched their final report ‘After the Riots’, outlining recommendations to help build greater personal, social and economic resilience in communities. It focuses on tackling deep-seated problems in communities including the lack of opportunities for young people, the lack of shared values and the inability to prevent re-offending.

Leap welcomes the particular focus given to assessing and managing the needs of 18-24 year olds to reduce re-offending. However, we urge decision-makers to start work with young adults when they are in the secure estate not just waiting until they’re released. Leap’s work across six prisons has shown that with suitable, targeted support and training around conflict, violence can be reduced, relationships between adults and young people are improved and young people feel more engaged.

Multi-agency joined-up support for young people whilst they’re in the secure estate, coming through the gates and once back in their communities is essential to reduce re-offending. Leap is part of the Resilience Consortium, a group of organisations that are working collaboratively to design a programme that builds resilience in communities and builds leaders out of former offenders.

It is also important to look at alternatives to custody, which is why Leap supports the report’s recommendation for more community sentencing. For example, through Leap’s Fear and Fashion programme, 17 out of 23 young offenders stopped or reduced their offending behaviour.

Developing personal resilience is another key recommendation from the report, particularly around building character. This development is crucial and Leap urges caution that this type of work requires careful thought and attention, through the development of solid foundations on which young people are able to make informed choices in their lives.

It is also essential that schools and youth services understand the principles behind character so young people can raise their aspirations and make a positive difference in their lives and communities. Leap’s own core principles include developing potential by examining your own behaviour, attitudes and beliefs and taking a lead in your life; being responsible for your choices and being accountable for your words and actions; developing communication skills to create and maintain strong relationships; and building community by welcoming difference, being supportive and contributing to the lives of others. We know from our work that young people respond positively to the individual and broader challenges these raise, and are able to use them as they move forward in their lives.

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