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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:

Mental Health: High Intensity Therapeutic Interventions (HITI)

Mental Health affects us all and is crucial at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence, through to adulthood. It can affect our ability to function in our day to day lives and has an impact on our relationships and wellbeing.

The VRU is committed to ensuring that young people are provided with a safe space to talk about their experiences and issues that affect them without fear of judgement.

We have commissioned Aspire4u who have developed the Heal Hub project. Heal Hub provides young people aged 14-25 with therapeutic support at a time and place that suits them. Furthermore, young people have the opportunity to choose their therapist, further enhancing the importance of giving them a voice and agency.

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 fund services in a number of hospitals across the West Midlands, which provide bespoke support for young people admitted to hospital with injury where there is a concern about exploitation, vulnerability or victimisation/ perpetration of violence. The team also invest time in providing training to hospital staff about understanding and identifying violence and exploitation.

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 accepting support and pursuing 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, Heartlands Hospital and Children’s Hospital in Birmingham and delivered by Redthread. In New Cross Hospital (Wolverhampton), University Hospital Coventry & Warwickshire, and Russells Hall (Dudley) we fund 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


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 domestic violence worker then arranges to speak or meet with the patient within 24 hours to assess risks and plan what support the patient would like. IRIS has been shown to identify victims far earlier than other services, allowing support to be accessed earlier.

The VRU launched this scheme in partnership with Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) in 2017, covering Birmingham, Coventry, Dudley, Sandwell, Solihull and Walsall. From April 2021, CCGs took on full responsibility for commissioning IRIS.

The IRIS national website contains further information and evidence on the scheme.

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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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