London

Knife crime: Call for churches to provide safe havens

Reverend Canon Dr Rosemarie Mallett
Image caption Reverend Canon Dr Rosemarie Mallett has called for churches to act

Churches should provide safe havens for young people to avoid violence on the street, a south London priest has said.

Reverend Canon Dr Rosemarie Mallett called for churches to open their doors between 15:00 and 18:00 BST "to have a space where young people can come".

The Brixton-based priest said there was "more and more need for spaces in the community" at a time when there is "less and less wrap-around care".

The plan is to be debated at the Church of England's General Synod next month.

More than 100 people have been fatally stabbed in the UK so far this year, with the youngest aged 14 years old.

Dr Mallett, who is a prominent anti-knife crime campaigner, told the BBC churches should be "part of the solution to what is a multi-faceted problem which needs a multi-agency response".

"For secondary school pupils there is a need to provide a safe haven and we're calling on churches to provide that," she said.

Dr Mallett has also called for knife amnesty bins to be placed in churches.

The idea will be discussed at the church's Synod - the national assembly of the Church of England - which will meet at the University of York between 5 and 9 July.

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