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Our Approach

Our focus

For the first four years of its work, the VRN has focussed on preventing public place serious violence. However, the local definition has now been extended to:





Whilst we focus principally on the definition outlined above, we remain committed to preventing and reducing all forms of violence recognising that they are inter-connected including sharing common causes and consequences for individuals, families and communities. To reflect this broad view of violence, our partnership also embraces the WHO broader definition of violence:






Behaviours such as bullying, intimidation, coercion, exploitation, physical, sexual and emotional violence and abuse fall within our definition. Our partnership will continue to connect the dots between different types of violence when pursuing preventative strategies and activities.

“The intentional use of physical force or power, threatened or actual, against oneself, another person,or against a group or community, that either results in or has a high likelihood of resulting in injury, death, psychological harm, maldevelopment or deprivation.”

“Violence resulting in significant physical injury and other serious harm, including sexual violence.Violence may be committed with or without weapons, and may take place in domestic or public places”

Our approach

A public health approach provides a framework to help us understand and respond effectively to serious violence across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland. The VRN partnership has embedded the public health approach within our principles and processes, and we routinely follow the World Health Organisation’s four step process when designing services and interventions aimed at preventing violence, as shown below.

What is our serious violence problem and what is causing it?

The first step involves analysing available data and community insights so that we have a good understanding of what violence looks like and what the drivers are.  Because violence and its drives evolve, we review data and insights regularly.

How will we share and embed our learning?

If we find that an approach is preventing violence, as a partnership we'll make the decision to scale up these interventions so that we can reach more people. We'll also share our learning locally and nationally through publishing reports and knowledge exchange events.

What is the best way for us to tackle our local issues?

Next we need to consult the evidence-base to see what interventions the research says is likely to tackle our local serious violence problem, reduce risk factors and strengthen protective factors.

Have our responses been effective?

Now that we understand our local issues and which approaches work best at tackling them, we should test them to see if they're effective. This involves spending time working out what will be delivered, and how we'll know if it's worked.

We know that the causes of violence are wide-ranging, complex and inter- related, and, therefore, effective prevention requires a comprehensive and coordinated whole system approach. In recognition that violence can manifest differently and have distinct causes and consequences at different life stages, our multi-agency response should span the life course and address individual, relationship, community and societal risk factors, providing prevention opportunities in the spaces in which people live, work and socialise.

Community & Wider Society

Close Relationships


Our framework


Much like all public health issues, violence can be predicted and prevented, and there are opportunities for us to intervene at different stages across the life course to prevent the (re-)occurrence of violence. There are three key levels of prevention and as a partnership we will continuously operate across these levels to ensure that we address not only individual level risk factors but also those that occur within relationships and the wider community and societal context

  • Primary Prevention: Prevent violence from occurring in the first place through addressing root causes of the earliest stage in the life-course. The aim is to avoid involvement in violence.

  • Secondary Prevention: Prevent the progression of violence through early identification, intervention and diversion. The aim is to intervene promptly to halt progression.

  • Tertiary Prevention: Reduce impact and prevent recurrence through Criminal Justice responses and providing rehabilitation and recovery opportunities to perpetrators and victims. The aims are to prevent reoffending and repeat victimisation.


Addressing the root causes
to stop violence from happening
in the first place.


Identifying, intervening and
diverting at-risk individuals.


Preventing violence
from o
ccurring again 

through rehabilitation
and recovery

Identification and pursuit of earlier opportunities for prevention

Our core principles


Aligning to the public health approach, we have developed and agreed seven core principles which will guide our collective efforts to prevent serious violence:

  1. Empower everyone, including young people and communities, to play a role in preventing violence. We will seek to widen involvement, particularly amongst those most affected by violence. We will seek to widen involvement, particularly amongst those most affected by violence, so that solutions are more relevant, responsive and effective. We will also promote leadership amongst young people, communities and at all levels in organisations to build capacity and the reach of our work.

  2. Secure maximum impact through maintaining a population focus and tackling inequalities. When allocating resources and targeting prevention activity we will ensure this reaches the populations most at risk and impacts positively on reducing inequalities.

  3. Ensure our work is evidence-based. We will use data and insights and gather knowledge from a range of sources to improve our understanding of the nature and causes of violence locally and in shaping our responses. We will seek to share this knowledge across and beyond the Network so to promote a shared understanding and improve our collective effectiveness.

  4. Adopt a life-course and trauma-informed approach. We recognise that prevention holds the greatest potential if we invest in healthy child and adolescence development, actively support transitions and promote resilience in individuals, families and communities. We will seek to prevent violence at the earliest opportunity and within each developmental stage in life with a particular emphasis on early year’s development.

  5. Promote whole-system thinking and action. We will continuously seek to lead and collaborate across the whole system, promoting joint working, strengthening connections and problem-solving between agencies and within communities where challenges or barriers arise.

  6. Add value and create sustainable solutions. We will seek to strengthen existing structures and services wherever possible including investing in capacity and asset-building. Promote and support whole-system thinking and action. We will continuously seek to lead and collaborate across the whole system, promoting joint working and problem-solving between agencies and within communities where challenges or barriers arise.

  7. Commit to continuous learning and improvement.  We will assess the effectiveness and impact of our work including seeking stakeholder feedback, evaluating interventions and sharing learning across the local and national violence reduction and prevention network.

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