The VERU Youth Intervention Specialist (YIS) team comes with a wealth of both lived and professional experiences, ready to support and work with victims, witnesses and those involved in criminal activities – to include our specialist area around gang associations.

Our aim is to encourage the reduction of child exploitation (CE) and violent activities impacting our Bedfordshire community. We provide a supportive service for educators, children, young people and their families – some of whom may be currently disengaged with services.

Although the support and service that we offer are not mandatory, we as Youth Intervention Specialists recognise that we will be tasked to work with some young people and families who may not wish to engage. The strength of our YIS Team is that we are all skilled in working with this cohort.

Alongside our key partners we will always strive to ensure that the community knows that there is a supplementary support service available for them, and anyone they are concerned about.

Our services

  • 1-2-1 Support (up to 12 sessions mentoring)
  • Specialist counsellor and therapeutic service
  • Group advisory sessions
  • Support for school inclusion units and alternative provisions
  • Child Exploitation awareness: Gangs/County Lines/ Sexual Exploitation/Grooming/Bullying & Peer Pressure/Criminal Activities/Fraud etc
  • Personal safety planning
  • Family support: parents and care givers
  • Multi-agency support/signposting
  • Mediation/community resolution
  • Practitioners/community leaders training and support
  • Community and education talks
  • Education assemblies and workshops

Referral process

We encourage referrals to be submitted via the Multi-Agency Gang Panel (Luton) or the Serious Youth Violence Panel (Bedford/Central Bedfordshire) using the respective panels’ referral form.

Referrals outside this process must be submitted by email using the VERU referral form or via our website using the form below.

It is the responsibility of the person making the referral to notify the respective authorities of referrals made outside the VERU process.

Streamlining this process in this manner is to avoid duplication of service and ensure the most appropriate person/agency are assigned to the young person.

We aim to acknowledge all referrals within 24 working hours of receiving them, currently excluding weekends and Bank Holidays.

Following the acknowledgment, the referral will be assessed and assigned to a Youth Intervention Specialists within five working days.

Contact will be made to the referring agency within 48 working hours of the case being assigned.

Please note that referrals into the VERU are not a substitute for normal safeguarding referrals. Safeguarding referrals should continue to be submitted independently to the relevant safeguarding hubs and the police for consideration.

Referral criteria

  • Children/young people/vulnerable adult aged 11 to25
  • Parents/care giver of a young person believed to be at risk or a risk to others (any age)
  • Serious concerns of child criminal exploitation or child sexual exploitation (gang affiliation/county lines/drugs etc.)
  • Not already working with a similar intervention/prevention agency (excluding local authority/police/youth offending)
  • Not incarcerated at the time when the referral was received (an exception is where the young person is open to the VERU prior to their sentence)
  • A valid contact number for the person referred (over 18s) or a parent or responsible adult for those under 18
  • Consent from a parent/care giver or those who are over 18

Providing as much information as possible and completing all sections of the referral form helps when assessing. If the basic information – contact details, if working with other agencies/education provisions etc – isn’t provided, this can delay the assessing process or result in the VERU not accepting the referral.


The VERU like many other agencies has been operating throughout the lockdown period and beyond, although partly remotely. Our YIS team are providing ongoing practical and pastoral support for both existing and new cases referred into the VERU, both face to face and virtually. However, we will make reasonable and necessary adjustments (online/virtual sessions offer) to ensure the safety of all staff.

You can make a referral to the YIS team using the online form below.

For more information about or to speak to someone about a referral please email 

Please note referrals made to the VERU is not a substitute for normal safeguarding referrals and should not be used as such

YIS team referral - young person

If the person being referred is known to Social Care, YOT, other local authority services or other agencies, please provide further details
You can find the toolkit at
You can do this via

YIS team referral - parents / care giver

If the person being referred is known to Social Care, YOT, other local authority services or other agencies, please provide further details