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£700,000 secured to help young people at risk from serious violence

28 July 2021

Police and Crime Commissioner, Donna Jones, has welcomed additional funding from the Government for two Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) initiatives that tackle the root causes of violence and prevent young people from getting involved in crime across Hampshire, the Isle of Wight, Portsmouth and Southampton. A total of £700,000 has been awarded which is split across two projects.


Commissioner Jones said: “I am very concerned about the growth of knives on our streets and I welcome both this funding and the Government’s new ‘Beating Crime Plan’, which has a strong focus on tackling violence and on prevention. Both projects that we have successfully secured funding for are fantastic, partnership initiatives that will support young people across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight who at risk of being drawn into serious violence or already showing violent behaviours.

“When we look at the past experiences of young people who are committing knife crime a significant number have had a childhood that has included violence, drugs, alcohol abuse or other adverse experiences. It is important that can identify and resolve these issues early on to prevent them from escalating.

“It is vital that we engage with young people as soon as we identify them as being vulnerable or at risk, and that support is available at key points.

“Arriving at A&E with injuries caused by violence can be a wake-up call, and having the right support in place can help these young people to realise there is a way out and to take positive steps away from a life of violence.”


Youth Navigators in A&E awarded £240,000

The Youth Navigators initiative provides specially trained Youth Workers (through No Limits) within A&E and other wards. They work at the times young people are most likely to present at the emergency department and support them at a point in crisis when they may be reflecting on their life choices. The Navigators provide hands-on emotional and wellbeing support, ensuring individuals, and their families, are signposted to the appropriate health, counselling, and other support services that can help with their individual needs and to find a more positive life course.

The funding will enable an expansion of existing provision in four Emergency Departments (Portsmouth, Southampton, Basingstoke and Winchester) and an introduction of the scheme on the Isle of Wight.

During a two month pilot the navigator at Portsmouth provided support to young people on 154 occasions on a variety of issues including attempted suicide, self-harm and mental health. A member of staff stated that “unfortunately in the emergency department staff do not have lots of time or even the expertise in talking to young people. Not only do the No Limits team give the young person the time they deserve, but they also have the skills and knowledge to provide them with ongoing help, support and advice”.


Trauma informed Training package awarded £460,000

The VRU has been awarded funding to further roll out Trauma Informed training for frontline professionals to improve support for young people. The training will help heal trauma, and help break the cycle of trauma for future generations.

A Trauma Informed approach focuses on ‘What has happened to this person’? rather than ‘What is wrong with them’? The programme highlights the potential negative impact of trauma as a result of earlier adverse or prolonged adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), including poor attachment in early years.

ACEs are stressful events occurring in childhood, such as experiencing abuse, neglect, mental illness, and substance misuse that may have a lifelong impact on health and behaviour. Research suggests that the greater the number of ACEs that an individual has, the more vulnerable they may be to becoming a victim or perpetrator of crime, or developing other negative health and social outcomes.

The Trauma Informed Training Programme includes

  • Trauma Informed practitioners, working alongside Police Response and Patrol teams to help them adopt a Trauma Informed approach, supported by Hampshire Police Coaches
  • Training for Frontline Workforces (Police, YOTs, Early Help, Education, Early Years and Health including Champions and Trauma Informed Educators)
  • A video to promote the positive impact of a trauma informed approach
  • A Trauma Informed conference to share learning