Much of the work of the VRU is targeted at prevention. But this isn’t necessarily only about stopping people committing violent acts for the first time. We believe you can prevent and rehabilitate offenders from committing violence again in the future. Even if someone has been arrested, charged or imprisoned, the VRU believes it is important to break the cycle of violence.
That’s why we are working with the criminal justice sector to identify how understanding and responding to violence differently might create improved outcomes which benefit individuals, families and communities. We recognise that criminal justice agencies already work tirelessly to protect the public and reduce offending and reoffending. There is substantial expertise, across all parts of the sector, which encourages partnership working and does so with great success.
The VRU recognises that expertise and seeks to work with people and agencies to identify areas for development, strengthened partnerships and confidence to innovate. We will be providing data, support and guidance for new initiatives and encouraging and enabling the things that criminal justice partnerships would like to achieve.
The first step is listening. We aim to engage within key strategic partnership meetings to understand gaps, ask questions and identify where the VRU can add value. We don’t believe we know best, but we want to ask sensible questions, use data to inform decisions and work with partners to think about how the system pulls together to reduce violence. There could be gaps or unintended consequences of how things operate which we can then help to overcome.
The VRU has a small number of embedded police officers, and also draws on expertise from across the criminal justice system. We are supporting West Midlands Police to embed the public health approach within operational policing and to develop trauma-informed practices, in order to improve the way in which we support victims, offer intervention and diversion opportunities and prevent reoffending. Our success will help reduce harm to victims, those offending, their families and our communities.