A new specialist training programme led by the Violence Reduction Network (VRN) has been launched to support a wide range of professionals working with vulnerable children and young people in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland.
The trauma-informed training has been designed by national charity Barnardo’s and is funded by the Home Office’s Serious Violence Youth Interventions Programme following a successful bid led by the Office of Leicestershire Police and Crime Commissioner.
The training is designed to inform frontline Early Help professionals about childhood adversity and trauma and how it can affect children across their life-course including an increased future likelihood of involvement in violence.
Practitioners will also be supported to develop their approach and skills so that they are in a stronger position to prevent and mitigate the potentially negative impact of trauma on children’s health and social outcomes. Senior leaders will be provided with an additional module focussing on how to support their practitioners through adopting a whole organisation approach.
More than 130 sessions are planned over the coming months involving around 2,700 professionals from the city and two counties. Professionals will represent a wide range of organisations from Early Help settings including schools, healthcare, children’s services, neighbourhood policing and the voluntary and community sector.
It is the first stage of a wider project to help steer young people away from crime and serious violence.
Other activity includes placing skilled mentors in police custody suites to engage and support young people at a time of crisis and a targeted schools project with youth workers supporting young people at risk of exclusion which increases their vulnerability to violence.
Strategic Director of the Violence Reduction Network, Grace Strong, said: "The impact of violence on a young person, their family and the wider local community is far reaching.
"The multi-agency Early Help workforce through their existing preventative work are in an ideal position to prevent and mitigate the impact of trauma which we know, if left unaddressed, can lead to poorer health and social outcomes later in life.
"Thanks to this additional Home Office funding, we are delighted to be working with Barnardo’s to develop and deliver this trauma-informed training.
"Barnardo’s have invaluable experience in this field through designing and delivering a trauma-informed programme in the West Midlands and due to embarking on their own journey to become a trauma-informed organisation.
"We have also involved Early Help partners and consulted with young people and families over the content of the trauma-informed training which will be available to a wide range of professionals working with children and young people."
Kathy Thomas, Barnardo's Assistant Director, Children's Services, continued: "We welcome the opportunity to work with the Violence Reduction Network to educate others and help support greater numbers of local children and their families and improve their life chances.
"It is vitally important that organisations and individuals who work with children and young people understand the impact that trauma and childhood adversity can have.
"This can be caused by different things including witnessing domestic abuse and child sexual exploitation. Issues such as these are extremely challenging to overcome and they need to be managed in an informed and trauma sensitive way.
"Barnardo's has extensive experience of supporting children and young people encountering trauma and we know that providing informed support at the right time can make it less likely for children and young people to become involved in crime or violence."
Nationally, the Home Office is investing £17m in early intervention and preventative activity to support young people at high risk of involvement in serious violence.
The funding was available to all Violence Reduction Units across England and Wales which bring partner agencies together to address the underlying causes of violence.