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CNWL statement on London gang-related violence

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9 April 2018

CNWL statement on London gang-related violence

For immediate publication

Dr Tami Kramer, Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist and Dorcas Gwata, Clinical Nurse Specialist, Westminster CAMHS released a statement on London gang-related violence:

The loss of a life through gang crime has a catastrophic impact on young people and families' mental health. Many more are living in fear with the impact of stabbings, torture, kidnappings and exploitation. Young girls in particular are vulnerable to sexual exploitation and can often be accessories to violence. Youth Post Traumatic Stress Disorder alongside depression, anxiety and social phobia are often masked by substance misuse. Underlying neurodevelopmental difficulties (such as ADHD and learning difficulties) associated with school failure are common. Poverty, poor family support and parental physical and mental health needs further complicate the issues.

As clinicians working with this vulnerable group, we are deeply concerned about the increase in youth violence and gang activity in London. Now more than ever we need to strengthen community engagement and multi-agency interventions which encompass innovative methods of working with vulnerable young people and families.

We commend the pioneering multi-agency work of the Westminster Integrated Gangs Unit in tackling gangs crime in Westminster. Matt Watson, IGU Manager, leads the broad based team which includes police, community safety, employment/education support, specialist sexual violence work, St Giles Trust, mental health provision and the frontline gang workers who engage young people at grassroots level. Young people who have engaged have shown a 50 per-cent decline in offending.

For more details:

Contact Senior Communications Officer Jeremy Dunning on 0203 214 5756 or

Picture shows Dorcas Gwata.

Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust
Stephenson House, 75 Hampstead Road, London NW1 2PL
Tel: 020 3214 5756