YOUTH worker and community activist Les Twentyman has initiated a summit on what he calls the "growing rate of youth violence gripping Melbourne's inner and outer suburbs".
Mr Twentyman, who has worked with young people in the western suburbs for more than 25 years, says gang violence across the west is now at unprecedented levels.
He says much of the violence goes unreported, which is why police crime statistics don'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 all parties together, 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.
"Whether there needs to be more investment in alternative schools or whether you target the underlying poverty, which means these kids can't afford to go to school ... all these things need to be discussed." Mr Twentyman's call for a summit was supported by African community leader Abseleom Nega.
Mr Nega, director of Flemington-based youth education group iEmpower, said it didn't help talking about what 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."
Moonee Valley police inspector Geoff Kedge said he would be a willing participant in the "think tank or summit" on youth violence.
The summit on youth violence with the theme 'Keeping kids in the classroom and out of the courtroom' has been scheduled for August 15, from 10.30am, at the Catholic Regional College, Caroline Springs.