How Can We Tackle Serious Youth Violence?

Incidents of Serious Youth Violence (SYV) have increased dramatically over the last few years. The number of police-recorded victims of SYV increased by 71 per cent from 2012 to 2018. Encouragingly, there was a 4% reduction in 2018/19. The proportion of hospital admissions involving a sharp instrument or knife injury for those aged under 25 has increased from 25 per cent in 2013 to 38 per cent in 2017. 


Analysis published by City Hall in July 2019 confirms a strong link between serious youth violence and Londoners affected by deprivation, poor mental health and poverty. The information on this page is informed by this study. 


Characteristics: Victims of SYV

  • Gender: three quarters of the SYV victims are male (75 per cent)

  • Age: 85 per cent of the victims are aged between 15-24 years

  • Ethnicity: 39 per cent of the victims are from a White ethnic background, and 26 per cent are from a Black ethnic background. Black young people comprise 17 per cent of the young person population in London, meaning that they are over-represented as victims of SYV. However, less than 1 per cent of all Black young Londoners are involved in SYV as either victims or offenders

  • Domestic Violence: 13 per cent of the SYV victims are for Domestic Violence offences (DV-SYV); with differences shown between the victim profile for DV-SYV compared to that of the overall SYV victims. 70 per cent of the DV-SYV victims are female. The victims tend to be slightly older than the remainder of the SYV victims (83 per cent aged 18-24 years). The ethnicity profile of the DV-SYV victims remains the same.

Characteristics: Perpetrators of SYV

  • Gender: the majority of the offenders are male (77 per cent)

  • Age: the offender ages range from 10-85 years, although 60 per cent are aged 13-28

  • Ethnicity: 41 per cent of the offenders are from a White ethnic background, and 35 per cent are from a Black ethnic background

  • Disability: 3 per cent of the offenders had a disability, within which 55 per cent had Mental Health issues, and 21 per cent had Learning Disabilities

  • Repeat Offending: 62 per cent of the SYV offenders have previously been convicted, cautioned or arrested recently

  • Domestic Violence: 35 per cent of the SYV offenders proceeded against in 2018 were for DV incidents. 90 per cent of the DV-SYV offenders are male. 

  • Hate Crime: 5 per cent of the SYV offenders that were apprehended in 2018 were for Hate Crime incidents.

When does SYV happen? 

The time of day when violent incidents among young people occur varies by the age of the young people: 

  • For the victims aged 10-16, incident patterns reflect school finishing times, whereas for the victims aged 18-24 years, incident patterns more closely reflect the night-time economy and associated activities

  • Violent incidents for children aged 10-16, are most likely to take place after school, between 3pm and 10pm, Monday to Friday, and between 1pm and 10pm on Saturday and Sunday. The peak days are Thursday and Friday, with the weekend being the quietest days

  • Violent incidents for those 18 years and over are most likely to occur between 6pm and midnight across the full week; with noticeable increases in incidents between 9pm on Friday and Saturday until 4am the next day. Saturday and Sunday were the clear peak days; although Sunday’s prevalence is due to Saturday night incidents

  • The violent incidents for victims of all ages, as recorded by the British Transport Police, show offending increases from mid-afternoon (3pm) until midnight every day of the week, with Saturday the overall peak day for offending.

Support and Resources



If a child is at immediate risk of significant harm, please dial 999.

Please call or email and follow up with a Multi-agency Referral Form.

Intensive Help

RedThread's works in King's College Hospital to support victims of SYV to break free from a cycle of violence.

Exploitation Risk Matrix

Use the Lambeth Child Exploitation Risk Matrix to help identify and clarify concerns and actions.

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Intensive Help

St Giles Trust offers a range of programmes to support young people exposed to or at risk from violence and exploitation. 

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© 2020 Lambeth Safeguarding Children Partnership