YOUTH worker and community activist Les Twentyman's call for a summit on what he calls the "growing rate of youth violence gripping Melbourne's inner and outer suburbs" has been heeded.
Catholic Regional College, Caroline Springs, will be venue of a summit to be held on August 15 from 10.30am.
It will have the theme 'Keeping kids in the classroom and out of the courtroom'.
Mr Twentyman, who has worked with young people in the western suburbs for more than 25 years, said gang violence across the west was at unprecedented levels.
He said much of the violence went unreported, which was why police crime statistics didn't tell the full story. "It is imperative that we act now to put into place real solutions to tackle the continued growth in youth-related violence," he said.
"We're bringing together all parties, from government, police, senior educators, community leaders, sports clubs, business - all with the aim of putting proactive programs in place that get kids back in school and involved in the community through arts and sports programs.
"The crisis at the moment is around kids not going to school. It's when they aren't going to school and are hanging around that they get into trouble."
Mr Twentyman's call for a summit was supported by African community leader Abselom Nega.
Mr Nega, the director of Flemington-based youth education group iEmpower, said it didn't help talking about which areas were worse than others.
"It doesn't help to single out a particular area; that's why we talk about the north-west region."
But Melton's Inspector Mario Fiorentino said he did not agree that the level of gang violence was unprecedented.
He said while groups of young people were sometimes involved in anti-social activities or committing offences, most offences were "random, spasmodic and opportunistic".
He said police engaged with community and government partners to promote youth-related issues and were involved in a number of referral processes for at-risk youth.