Introducing the debate, Canon Rosemarie Mallett said the current raised level of youth violence was “in part because successive governments have failed to understand the causes of violent youth crime. These include the pernicious nature of poverty and trauma, and risk factors like school exclusion and adverse childhood experiences, along with public-sector disinvestment nationally and locally.”
“The Church is in a unique position, and we shouldn’t let that potential for action go. We must be the Samaritan and not the Pharisee... In most places, the church has been there for generations... A place of stability and peace for families and individuals that lack both of these in their lives is invaluable.” The church could be a place of reconciliation in areas where the families of victims and perpetrators lived side by side.
The debate called for Diocesan Boards of Education to encourage alternatives to excluding children from school; for dioceses to provide more training for church leaders and for the church to work more with other organisations to provide support and pastoral care for those affected.
MJR trustee Dr Joe Aldred contributed to the debate and quoted a 2008 report in which then Bishop of Liverpool Dr James Jones, wrote of the "ruinous impact of racism, deprivation, and low self esteem on the lives of many inner city youths, rendering them vulnerable to criminality as perpetrators and victims".
Read the official statement, a Church Times article, and Dr Aldred's response in full.