This news story http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-34184563 caught my eye not only because I grew up at that time but also because it prompts comparison with young people’s lives today.
As the article describes, violence associated with identity (usually football and music) was relatively commonplace. In Birmingham there was also young gang violence associated with areas and specific schools. In the early 70s where I grew up the Quinton Mob had a fearsome reputation. In all this, young people either gloried, stayed on the periphery feeling a thrill or stayed away from the worst trouble accepting violence would be there. I learned to sense trouble and steer clear but I was sometimes just in the wrong place at the wrong time. The violence often left people badly hurt and occasionally proved fatal. Therefore the significant decrease in young people’s experience of public violence has to be a good thing.
What the article does not seek to explore is how some forms of violence have remained whilst the public violence has transformed into the private world of online hate and abuse which is different but just as devastating and arguably affects a greater proportion of the lives of young people.
Domestic violence continues to be experienced by many children and young people. I came across this brilliant video https://vimeo.com/29908502#share on the A Call to Men website. Made by a group of young people in Scotland, the video gives an insight into the impact of domestic violence in young people’s lives.
Gang violence linked to older criminals in an area continues to affect some cities and schools.
As teachers, we need to be aware of the reality of children’s lives outside the school by listening without prying and knowing how and when to support.