ANTISOCIAL SHIFTS IN SOCIAL POLICY AND SERIOUS VIOLENCE BETWEEN YOUNG PEOPLE: EVIDENCE FROM THE CROSS-PARTY YOUTH VIOLENCE COMMISSION
In recent years, public spending cuts and regressive reforms to a number of social policies in England and Wales have had a disproportionately adverse effect on those young people already most vulnerable and marginalised, thereby contributing to the recent rise in rates of serious interpersonal violence. To support this argument, we draw on data generated by six evidence sessions held on the Parliamentary Estate as part of the recent work of the cross-party Youth Violence Commission. In particular, we contend that cuts to education budgets and perverse school inspection framework criteria, counterproductive funding structures and cuts to youth services, and the increased use of discriminatory policing practices such as stop and search, all provide examples of antisocial shifts in social policy. We argue that if levels of violence are to decline in the coming years, it is imperative that governments develop and implement social and economic policies that include rather than exclude young people, that safeguard dignity rather than foster anxiety, and that enable all young people to feel cared for, valued, and hopeful for their futures.