Violence Reduction Units from across the country work together to prevent violence
As the national violence reduction programme enters its third year, Violence Reduction Units (VRUs) from across England and Wales will meet on Thursday (15 July) to evaluate their progress in reducing violence and helping to build stronger, more resilient communities.
Launched in 2019, VRUs bring together different organisations, including the police, local government, health, community leaders and other key partners to tackle violent crime by understanding its root causes.
VRUs adopt a public health approach to violence reduction; this means focusing on understanding the causes of the problem and on testing, evaluating and upscaling interventions.
Considering factors such as physical environment, health and education can help to identify the interventions that will be most successful.
Bedfordshire is the only VRU in the country to include the word exploitation in its title.
The Violence and Exploitation Reduction Unit (VERU) has a unique youth intervention specialist team which works with young people and families at risk of being exploited.
The VERU also commissions community based projects and interventions to tackle serious youth violence, as well as coordinating the response to these issues between different agencies such as the police, local councils, healthcare providers, charities and communities.
The VRU national conference provides an opportunity to hear from experts across the country on key themes, such as the role of education in reducing violence, as well as an opportunity to learn from other units and collaborate with peers.
Kimberley Lamb, head of the Bedfordshire VERU, said: “The VERU I believe has made a lasting and positive difference to how we address serious youth violence in Bedfordshire.
“We have made huge inroads into our communities to educate people on spotting the signs of vulnerability and helping us tackle things like child criminal exploitation, as well as making similar progress with lots of different agencies.
“This is without mentioning the contribution of our youth intervention specialists, whose help and support has genuinely transformed the lives of some of our young people in Bedfordshire.
“We are pleased to work alongside other VRUs to deliver this national conference, which will highlight some of the common and persistent challenges that VRUs across the country face. Although we can see that positive change is underway, there is still work to do and to overcome the challenges we face, we need to take action together.”
The conference will be attended by representatives from all 18 VRUs across England and Wales.
Local, regional, and national stakeholders, people already working within violence reduction or those who would like to find out more about how these systems could work better together, are invited to join the conference. For more information, contact: GMVRU@greatermanchester-ca.gov.uk
We are supporting the next campaign by the Bedfordshire Against Violence and Exploitation (BAVEX) project raising awareness of child exploitation.
If you have concerns or want to find out more you can visit the campaign homepages for young people as well as parents and carers.