Online tool to prevent children becoming involved in violence

The Youth Endowment Fund has launched a new Toolkit to help police forces, local authorities, youth charities and school leaders provide support to children at risk of involvement in violence.

The YEF says that finding out what really works in tackling violence is difficult. Knowledge about how best to support children is both hard to access, often hidden behind journal paywalls or on complicated websites, and hard to understand, written in complicated academic language without clear recommendations on what the findings mean for the people who decide what to invest in.

This means it’s hard to make judgements about the right services to invest in, so that children get the right support at the right time and violence is reduced.

The YEF Toolkit summarises the available evidence and shows how effective different approaches are at preventing violence. It includes evidence about 13 different approaches but will be updated every six months with new topics and evidence that people working with children need.

An example approach is focused deterrence, which works with the small number of people who are involved in the majority of crimes or acts of violence in a community. The local community, as well as teams from the police, social care, health workers, youth workers and others offer them tailored support to change the path they’re on, including things like help with getting a job, drug treatment and building their skills. The community and authorities clearly communicate that they want violence to stop and those involved in violence to be safe, and that further violence will have consequences. It makes the consequences of violence clear, while offering a route out.

Jon Yates, Executive Director, Youth Endowment Fund, said: “The YEF Toolkit comes at an important moment. As the restrictions we’ve all been living through start to lift, many of us are worried that we’ll see an increase in violence in our communities. We need to make sure that doesn’t happen. The Toolkit is here to help make sure that we’re investing in services that prevent violence.  

“Some Police and Crime Commissioners and police forces have already decided to invest in focused deterrence. I hope the Toolkit will encourage more to do the same and help us build the evidence by evaluating their efforts. I’d encourage schools to use the Toolkit to invest in making sure children develop social skills. I want to see local authorities use it to help shape the support that families get, so that every child gets to grow up in a supportive home. The Toolkit is there to enhance your local knowledge and help you to make the best choices for your community. By working together, we can make sure that no child becomes involved in violence.

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