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This webpage offers you an insight into the work of the Somerset Violence Reduction Unit and gives access to resources that can help recognise, prevent and respond to concerns about violent crimes.
It is designed to help the work of professionals and community groups who have contact with people who may be affected by violence.
We are a multi-agency group of professionals working under the umbrella of Safer Somerset Partnership to set up a specialist Violence Reduction Unit (VRU).
Why the Violence Reduction Unit has been set up
Nationally, selected police force areas were offered additional resource specifically to set up a VRU as a core function for the delivery of a local response to serious violence that could
- alleviate suffering
- lead to substantial financial savings, and
- improve societal wellbeing and prosperity for current and future generations
Sue Mountstevens, Police and Crime Commissioner for Avon and Somerset explains more about this approach in the Avon and Somerset Serious Violence Strategy 2019.
Serious violence destroys lives, with repercussions that span generations. In Avon and Somerset, on average more than 1000 serious violence offences are reported to the Constabulary every month, at significant social and economic cost.
Between November 2015 and March 2019, homicide and violence with injury cost Avon and Somerset nearly £765 million. The costs to society more broadly (through, for example, lost output or long-term physical and mental illness), though more difficult to quantify, are likely to be far greater, and longer lasting.
Homicide and Violence with Injury are prominent components of serious violence. However, the categorisation used in this document incorporates other types of offence. As such, we underestimate the total costs of serious violence.
Tackling serious violence and breaking this destructive cycle is a priority for the Government; and particularly so given recent increases in serious violence nationally. To facilitate effective, local multi-agency responses to serious violence, the Government has allocated £35 million to PCCs in 18 local areas, including Avon and Somerset, to set up Violence Reduction Units.
What the Somerset Violence Reduction Unit does
We are carrying out a countywide needs assessment that will identify gaps in provision and practice. This will be done in consultation with our partners.
This needs assessment will inform a response strategy that will set out the most effective way we can reduce the amount of violent crimes in Somerset.
We also aim to raise awareness of key issues and advise partners on good practice to enable the prevention of violent crimes.
We are already providing extra resources to help fund projects that help prevent violent crimes. Some of the organisations we are supporting include
Resources for professionals
Information about lesson plans for young people on topics that can help prevent and reduce risk of harm
Leaflets and posters
Materials that can be used to promote awareness about exploitation
More information about support services that can help people to reduce risk of harm
Media Stars required for Somerset Schools Youth Voice Competition
In our new school’s media competition, we’re asking the young people of Somerset to spread the word on how to stay safe. Can they write and make a short podcast or YouTube video?
In primary schools the focus is on online and street safety while the secondary schools are dealing with knife crime and ‘county lines’ drug networks. To help teachers, we’ve prepared a lesson plan and a whole load of relevant resources which can be accessed for free at www.collaboratedigital.com/register
There’s no need for a load of specialist equipment; in fact, students can make a really good podcast or YouTube video on a phone, laptop or tablet – it’s the script that’s important.
We know school is really busy between now and the end of the year which is why the deadline for this is Thursday 27 February – so plenty of time to have a go when school returns after the holidays. Teachers might want to deliver this as part of the English curriculum, as a topic for PSHE, in Media Studies or on a collapsed timetable day but we encourage you to register to access all the free resources at www.collaboratedigital.com/register.
Contact the team
If you have any questions about this page or the work of Somerset Violence Reduction Unit, please email firstname.lastname@example.org