YouthLink Scotland has been running the No Knives, Better Lives project for over 12 years, providing invaluable support to youth workers and practitioners, working with young people to better understand and address the drivers of youth violence.
The launch of the Violence Prevention Framework is an opportunity to reinforce our strong partnership connections to others in the violence prevention field, and our commitment to ensuring all children and young people grow up safely and reach their full potential.
Youth work has a strong track record of giving young people the necessary skills and motivation to make informed choices that benefit both themselves, their peers and their communities. For young people, youth work offers safe environments for difficult conversations, inclusive and compassionate spaces, and dedicated and trusted adults.
The overarching aims of the Framework make clear that youth work is essential for preventing violence.
We are all safe, and feel safe, in our communities
An important feature of youth work is providing safe places for young people to learn, to play, to socialise, to just be themselves. Youth workers provide a refuge for young people from the challenges they face within their lives.
Our communities are stronger and more resilient
Youth work services have a positive impact on the community in which they’re situated, whether through the benefit of youth social action, supporting youth civic action, or improving intergenerational relationships.
Our relationships are healthier and more respectful
The clear boundaries and positive role modelling provided by youth workers encourages the development of respectful, healthy relationships both within and outwith youth groups.
People at risk of experiencing violence are supported to live healthier, more productive lives
The evidence shows that through participating in youth work, young people build their health and wellbeing, including growing self-confidence and increasing ability to deal with difficult emotions.
For young people in conflict with the law, it is often youth workers who support and advocate for their rights, as well as creating space for transformation and hope for the future.
Lastly, it is important to note that children and young people have a right to be protected from violence as laid out in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). Article 19 of the UNCRC explicitly states that governments should take all appropriate measures to protect children from all forms of violence. The launch of the Violence Prevention Framework is a positive move towards realising that right for children and young people in Scotland.