Sheffield Hallam University experts put South Yorkshire anti-violence unit’s work to the test

Psychologists from Sheffield Hallam University are to lead a project to assess the effectiveness of South Yorkshire’s Violence Reduction Unit.

Wednesday, 15th July 2020, 2:03 pm
Updated Wednesday, 15th July 2020, 2:04 pm

Established last August, following a successful multi-agency bid for a £1.6m funding grant from the Home Office, the South Yorkshire Violence Reduction Unit works in partnership with a range of public, community, faith and voluntary organisations to develop and deliver a range of activities to reduce violence in the region.

The evaluation project is being led by psychologists Dr Charlotte Coleman and Dr Kate Whitfield from the Forensic and Investigative Research group at Sheffield Hallam.

It aims to allow the unit to understand the impact of their work and provide new knowledge that will inform policy and practice locally and nationally.

Supt Lee Berry and Rachel Staniforth, joint heads of the South Yorkshire Violence Reduction Unit, with crime commissioner Dr Alan Billings

Rachel Staniforth, joint head of the unit, said: “The Violence Reduction Unit is now in its second year of funding from the Home Office.

"In the first year we were required to produce an area profile and response strategy that look at the causes of violence in South Yorkshire. This document will be published very soon.

“Part of taking a public health approach is using and adding to data and the evidence base.

"We want to ensure that the work we are undertaking is having an impact.

“The evaluation that Sheffield Hallam University are undertaking will provide valuable insights into what is working well and what could be improved.

"These findings will add to the effectiveness of our work, ensuring that we deliver interventions and initiatives that improve the lives of young people and communities in South Yorkshire.”

The idea of a public health approach to tackling violence, favoured by the Home Office, is to identify its underlying causes and focus available resources on its prevention, working with other agencies.

Dr Coleman said: “Our team are delighted to be working with the South Yorkshire’s Violence Reduction Unit on such an important piece of work that will help shape the future of violent crime interventions in South Yorkshire.

“This funding recognises the expertise of our forensic psychology team in working in the area of violence reduction and evaluation methodologies.”

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