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New project to support young people at critical turning point is launched today

A new project offering tailored support and opportunities to young people to prevent future violence and provide guidance towards a more positive future has been launched today by the Violence Reduction Network (VRN).

The Violence Intervention Project (VIP) aims to engage and support young people in police custody at a time when they are most likely to welcome help. It is available to those aged under 25 years who may have been involved in violence and have come to the police’s attention.

The project, which is funded through the Home Office’s Serious Violence Youth Intervention Fund, is one of a growing suite of interventions designed and implemented by the VRN partnership which ensures young people receive support and intervention at critical moments in their lives.

Turning Point, a local charity who are leading the delivery of the project and already deliver the project within Leicester Royal Infirmary, will work alongside Leicestershire Police, Leicestershire Cares and Leicester Riders Foundation to offer tailored support and opportunities to young people with the aim of preventing further violence and building a safer, more positive future.

Grace Strong, Strategic Director of the VRN, said: “We know that when young people enter police custody there is a time-limited opportunity to reach them when they are most likely to be re-evaluating their lives and accept support. This partnership project involves skilled workers speaking with the young person at this ‘reachable moment’ and offering concrete and credible opportunities as well as holistic wrap-around support to maximise the likelihood of success”.

Located at Euston Street custody suites, young people who have been involved in violence-related offences including weapon carrying, gang or criminal exploitation will be eligible. Workers from Turning Point will be based alongside police colleagues and will offer to speak with a young person whilst they are in a police cell. They will then offer follow-up support in the community.

Caroline Gadsby, Partnership Manager at Turning Point, said: “It is an exciting time for our team. We already deliver a similar project in the Emergency Department within Leicester Royal Infirmary, which is having a positive impact on the lives of young victims of violence.

“Our dedicated workers will now be able to provide this to young people in a criminal justice setting, supporting them to move away from offending and achieve positive goals such as in relation to education or employment, improving their confidence and emotional well-being as well as providing further opportunities in sports and other recreational activity.”

Rupert Matthews, Police and Crime and Commissioner and Chair of the local Violence Reduction Board said: “It is crucial that we provide support to young people to help them out of the cycle of violence and custody. While I firmly believe in enforcement and sanction, it is clear that we need to look at the wider opportunities to cut crime.

“If we can provide intervention at that critical moment, I sincerely hope that we can turn people away from crime. The success of this project should make a positive difference to both the lives of the young people involved and the wider community. This is exactly what the Violence Reduction Network was set up to do.”

David Sandall, Assistant Chief Constable and Leicestershire Police’s lead for Serious Violence added: “We are delighted to be welcoming the Violence Intervention Project into one of our custody suites and our officers look forward to working closely with the team. We often see the trauma and other challenges that young people coming into custody have experienced and this project is about ensuring support and intervention is in the right place at the right time for young people. Enforcement has an important role to play in our work to reduce violence but if we are to have an impact in the long-term, it’s projects like this which will secure sustainable change.”

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