New start: Safe houses help teenagers flee gang violence
By Noel Phillips, news correspondent
Gang members desperate to escape a life of violence are being offered 'safe houses' in a scheme to combat knife crime in London.
More than 100 young people have so far been housed and helped with education and employment to give them a new life.
The safe houses are self-funded and led by pastors from Spac Nation, a church where 55% of those that attend have previously been involved in a life of crime.
"There are 15-year-olds dying on the streets and this should not be happening," says Tobi Adegboyega, who leads the project. "It's one of the reasons why we started this initiative. We have 23 self-funded safe houses across London."
Mr Adegboyega claims the scheme will help save lives and cut violent crime.
"I have had to remove people from east London and put them in south London overnight otherwise they would die or end up killing someone else."
Sky News has been given exclusive access to two secure houses used to place distance between gangs and vulnerable youths at risk of being sucked into them.
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Those under 18 require permission from their local authority in order to be allowed to live in the houses.
Demar, 14, is a former gang member who was stabbed seven times last month and was forced to leave his family home for his own safety.
"I didn't know I'd been stabbed until I saw blood pouring out onto my shoes and I got so dizzy. One of my friends called an ambulance and I got taken to hospital," he said.
"I don't remember much but I woke up and they were trying to stop the bleeding. I spent a week in hospital. I'm so lucky to be alive."
The capital has been blighted by a number of fatal stabbings this year. Figures show in the last five years, the number of teenagers being treated for knife wounds has risen by 55%.
Labour's shadow home secretary, Diane Abbott, has backed the safe house initiative following a series fatal of knife attacks in her Hackney North and Stoke Newington, constituency.
Ms Abbott tolRead More – Source