Anne Longfield, the Children’s Commissioner for England, responding to the Home Affairs Select Committee on Serious Violence, said:
“This hard-hitting report exposes the dangers facing the many thousands of vulnerable children who are at risk of grooming by ruthless criminal gangs. Many of the mistakes that led to failings in child sexual exploitation are now being repeated. They are generational, complex and will require significant funding to turn around.
“The new Prime Minister and Home Secretary must show their commitment to tackling youth violence. That will require more than summits and meetings. We need a large-scale and long term plan that includes a new generation of youth workers, more investment in early years and troubled families programmes, better children’s mental health services, a strategy to tackle school exclusions and keeping schools open for longer to help protect some of the most vulnerable children.
“Too many families and communities are being wrecked and too many childhoods broken by the scourge of gangs and criminal exploitation. Until the Government treats this as a top priority, young people will continue to be caught up in gangs and serious violence, and children will continue to die on our streets.”