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The Violence Reduction Unit is working with health partners to trial and deliver a range of services that aim to intervene to safeguard vulnerable young people and prevent the escalation of violence and injury.

Violence is a public health issue; adversely impacting on health and wellbeing. It is therefore important that we work closely with health partners such as Clinical Commissioning Groups, GPs, Pharmacists and the wider NHS to support and intervene at the right times.

Some of our key projects include:


IRIS is an evidence based scheme helping staff in local doctors’ surgeries identify patients affected by domestic violence, and refer those patients to the practice’s named domestic violence worker for advice and support. The support worker then arranges to speak or meet with the patient within 24 hours to assess risks and plan what support the patient would like.

The IRIS scheme has been shown to identify victims far earlier than other services, allowing support to be accessed earlier.

We support IRIS across the CCG areas within the West Midlands: Sandwell and West Birmingham, Birmingham and Solihull, Dudley and Walsall.

Reachable Moments in Hospital Settings

Every year, thousands of young people will visit a hospital Accident & Emergency Department as a victim of violence or abuse.

We currently commission two key services in hospitals, which provide bespoke support for young people admitted to hospital with injury where there is a suspicion of exploitation, vulnerability or hidden harm.

These moments of intense crisis, when a young person is nursing a serious injury in the daunting environment of a busy hospital, often alone, can be a catalyst for pursuing positive change – a ‘reachable moment’. The youth workers offer the opportunity to talk and plan what is needed to address any underlying issues and interrupt the cruel cycle of violence which many young people get caught in.

This work is currently embedded within the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and Heartlands Hospital in Birmingham by the organisation Redthread. In New Cross Hospital (Wolverhampton) and Walsgrave Hospital (Coventry) we commission St Giles Trust to carry out the interventions.

Exploitation and Vulnerability Projects in Hospitals

We are also piloting the reachable moment methodology in partnership with Birmingham Women’s and Children’s Hospital. It is a service that uses the reachable moment methodology to upskill internal staff to be able to intervene and respond. This is matched by a bespoke domestic violence service that helps to upskill hospital staff in identifying the signs of domestic abuse and how to respond appropriately

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The VRU is always interested in exploring possible links and opportunities to work with others. Contact us to find out more or even just say hello…
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