Children and young people are still being stigmatised as a result of the riots that struck towns and cities across England a year ago today, according to a group of young people from our Young Voices project.
Young people from our Young Voices project in South London today spoke to journalists at a press conference, where they focused on the impact the riots on both themselves and their peers.
The Young Voices project collected the views of young people living in communities affected by the riots, holding a 'trust day' where young people met police officers involved in policing the riots.
Chloe, a 14-year-old from Peckham, said: 'The thing that affected me the most was the attitude to young people after the riots. Living in an area that was at the heart of all the trouble, it was shocking to see how we were portrayed and treated, even though most of us were not involved at all in the riots.'
Young people's newspaper and praise from police
The young people have also produced their own newspaper, The Riots Remembered, detailing their experiences and the findings from a survey that was designed as part of the project. This project spoke directly to young people from an area that was deeply affected by the riots. It has drawn attention from the likes of urban artist and songwriter Plan B, who has tweeted to his 277,000 followers about Young Voices.
The project has received high praise from the Metropolitan Police. Chief Inspector Cliff Eager, who attended the trust day, said: 'The Young Voices project gave us the opportunity to engage with young people, answer their questions and listen to their points of view. My colleagues and I found the interaction really useful and hope to work with The Children's Society in future. Today’s children are the future and we want them to know that the police are here to help them and are on their side.'
The Children's Society's Chief Executive, Matthew Reed said: 'The young people involved in this project have worked hard to make sure their voices are heard. All young people deserve to be listened to and we’re delighted that The Children’s Society was able to give them that platform.'
For more information, please call The Children’s Society media team on 020 7841 4422, 07810487988 or email Lorna Harris. For out-of-hours enquiries please call 07810 796 508.