West Yorkshire Violence Reduction Unit
In April 2022, the Home Office announced that The West Yorkshire Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) would receive £5,863,803 to continue in its pioneering response to serious violent crime, with an added guarantee of funding for the next three years.
It came alongside news of a further £1,651,943 to support the operational response to knife crime.
The VRU brings together organisations across local communities to tackle underlying causes. It also helps fund vital local projects that undertake positive preventative work with children and young people.
The unit, which launched in early 2020, has a partnership emphasis, with specialists from health, police, local authorities, education, youth justice, prisons, probation, community groups and others.
It takes a fundamentally different approach to violence reduction, one where the public sector institutions and communities that make up West Yorkshire act together to help cut violence with early intervention, prevention, education and partnership working.
Using its innovative public health approach, the VRU does not just focus on high-risk individuals, but considers how the causes of violence can be addressed. Public health approaches start from the principle that prevention is better than cure.
The progress of the unit has seen the development of a long-term strategy to tackle serious violence and is continuing its proactive work across the county.
Between April and September 2021, 2,827 young people were supported across 41 interventions funded by the West Yorkshire VRU and the figures continue to rise. In addition, it has also helped 1,706 people over the age of 25 across the same period.
Across West Yorkshire, we will work together to prevent violence and to reduce its harmful impact. We will do this by strengthening our partnerships, working with our communities, developing our understanding of the causes of violence and delivering interventions that make a lasting difference.
The work programme for the VRU is shaped through us developing understanding of the West Yorkshire context and evidence base and direction of our overarching priorities and commitments. This incorporates data analysis from across organisations, consultation with communities and a review of evidence-based practice for tackling violent crime and its causes. Our seven overarching priorities are:
- Criminal Justice and Reducing Re-offending: Reducing the risk of young people entering the criminal justice system and reducing reoffending.
- Domestic and Sexual Abuse: Supporting families affected by domestic and sexual violence and abuse.
- Complex Needs and A&E attendance: Supporting people to move away from violent lifestyles, providing support with some of the complex needs that make many frequent attenders in Emergency Departments.
- Education: Promoting meaningful engagement in education.
- Violence Against Women and Girls: Creating an environment where women and girls can feel safe and be safe.
- Local solutions through co-production: Working with communities to develop locally based initiatives.
- Adversity, Trauma, Resilience: Reducing adversity and ensuring a trauma informed approach throughout partner’s work.