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We’ve been working with brilliant colleagues from across a whole range of organisations so far this year, so much so that we’ve not taken the time to sit down and capture some of our reflections until now.

MVP (or ‘Mentors in Violence Prevention’) is a programme and approach to building resilient and respectful communities. Its approach engages everyone (in our case, those in the participating schools) as leaders within their communities, building their awareness of inequality and attitudes that condone violence and abuse, and empowering them to lead by example in building inclusive environments.

The violence pyramid diagram captures our understanding of ‘violence’, how a broad range of attitudes can permit abusive and violent behaviours at many levels. MVP understands this, and supports young people to consider and model respectful behaviour, and take a stand against negative behaviour.

In February, leads from our pathfinder schools participated in some excellent training days to equip them to establish MVP in their schools. Our friends from the Scottish Violence Reduction Unit spent three days leading highly engaging training and planning sessions with our leads from the local schools. Schools are now training their peer mentors, engaging with partners in their communities and getting ready to launch. There’s been an overwhelming response from pupils applying to become mentors, and plans are afoot to gather the mentors from across schools together for training and to inspire each other in taking their place as leaders within their communities.


Craig’s Story – Creating Safe and Healthy Futures

Rt Hon Jacqui Smith at conferenceBack in February we held a packed out day with invited leaders from across the region to meet and work with colleagues from different agencies in their local area. The day was to understand our shared aims for our communities and plan how we can all work more preventatively with the issues and driving factors which lead to violence. Using the film of Craig’s Story, the tragic case of a local family, to galvanise thoughts each area came up with steps for how they will create stronger, more integrated and preventative working. To read Craig’s Story, see the West Midlands Police report here. It’s been great seeing how each area is moving forward – we hope to share stories from across the region in future updates.

The West Midlands Injury Surveillance System

Our own regional system kicked off in earnest in April, initially drawing data relating to violence from A&E departments. The team have been visiting hospitals and are beginning a process of engaging with stakeholders to consider what sorts of analysis could be possible to make the data more and more useable and useful in preventing violence and associated harm. For many years, colleagues in licensing departments have been using the data to identify where there are problems with violence in licensed premises, and then take action with those premises. As the work progresses, the aim is to increase the uses of the data. Please contact us if you’ve any questions.

Identifying Abuse Earlier

The link between domestic violence and animal abuse is not new; seeing an animal with a non-accidental injury is an indicator of increased risk of there being domestic abuse within the home. We went along to an annual national vets conference (over 6,500 vets in Birmingham!) to be on the panel answering questions at the launch of national guidance for vets in how to identify signs of abuse and domestic violence, and how to respond. We’re now looking forward to further work with our friends in The Links Group to arrange awareness raising and training for vets in the West Midlands.

We’ve also been putting together a training plan with dental colleagues to train dental practitioners in identifying patients who are victims of domestic violence, and how they can respond. We’re really enthusiastic about making sure people who are experiencing violence are offered good support wherever they go. Vets and dentists provide another excellent opportunity to identify harm earlier, linking people to sources of support.

More is a-brewing….

Work also continues on a number of other pieces of work. We’re continuing work with colleagues on ‘public service reform’ plans in getting more preventative working embedded. With excellent local examples of domestic violence workers training staff in GP practices and providing the link into specialist support, we’re working with colleagues to plan how to extend this approach which is shown to get people help earlier. Work also continues finalising options for a regional domestic violence perpetrator programme. More on all this, and more, to follow…

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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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