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Hundreds of young people have already been supported through a pioneering project led by the Violence Reduction Network (VRN), a partnership tasked with preventing and reducing serious violence across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland.
The VRN works with key partners including Leicestershire Police, healthcare providers and local charity Turning Point on the Violence Intervention Project (VIP) which aims to engage and support young people either in hospital A&E or police custody at a time when they are most likely to welcome help.
Commonly referred to as a ‘reachable moment’, support workers employed by Turning Point engage with young people at this critical point in their lives and offer support to assist recovery and address pressing issues such as safety and emotional well-being followed by a bespoke programme of community-based positive activities and on-going mentoring.
In the 12 months to April 2022 support workers engaged with 312 young people who were treated for violence-related injuries at Leicester Royal Infirmary.
Since the VIP in police custody project was launched in November, 164 young people have been supported at Euston Street and Keyham Lane police stations.
Funded through the Home Office’s Serious Violence Youth Intervention Fund through the Office of Leicestershire Police and Crime Commissioner, VIP is one of a growing suite of interventions designed and implemented by the VRN partnership.
Grace Strong, Strategic Director of the VRN, said: “The two aspects of VIP are excellent examples of successful partnerships across a number of agencies.
“Having established the support programme in A&E, we have welcomed the unwavering support of police custody staff to ensure young people receive the same immediate offer of practical and emotional support following arrest. Leicestershire Police’s commitment to this project, and their wider work to developing a trauma-informed custody environment for young people, has undoubtedly played a critical role in this projects early success.”
Caroline Gadsby, Partnership Manager at Turning Point, said: “Our dedicated support teams are having a positive impact on the lives of young victims of violence and, more recently to young people in a criminal justice setting.
“The overall goal is to change behaviours and achieve positive goals such as in relation to education, employment and positive activities.”
David Sandall, Assistant Chief Constable and Leicestershire Police’s lead for Serious Violence concluded: “We often see the trauma and other challenges that young people coming into custody have experienced and this project is about ensuring support and intervention is in the right place at the right time for young people.
“Enforcement has an important role to play in our work to reduce violence but if we are to have an impact in the long-term, it’s projects like this which will secure sustainable change.”
If you are looking for help and support, please visit the Live Safe website. Whether you are a young person or adult, there is information on the website to help you. Live Safe is a judgment-free space for information and support on staying safe in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland.
This week Leicestershire Police is joining police forces up and down the country to support ‘Operation Sceptre’ – a week-long national campaign aimed at tackling knife crime.
Taking place between Monday 16 May and Sunday 22 May 2022, Operation Sceptre will see the police service across the UK highlighting the risks that carrying a bladed weapon can bring, as well as targeting offenders who use and carry knives in the area.
Follow the campaign on social media via the #OpSceptre #WeDon'tCarry hashtag.