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How do we best support the neighbourhoods sector to support children at risk of violence outside the home?

At the Youth Endowment Fund, we aim to prevent children from being drawn into violence. We think any credible plan to reduce violence has to recognise that children rely on seven essential sectors to be safe, one of which is Neighbourhoods.

We see this as including Community Safety Partnerships, local authority neighbourhood and community engagement teams; neighbourhood policing; the housing sector; local Voluntary, Community, Faith & Social Enterprise (VCFSE) sectors; community leaders; amongst others. In each sector we are working with delivery organisations and system leaders to better understand and deliver on the changes most likely to reduce violence.

There is so much we can all do to keep children and carers safe. Our job is to make it easy to know what works and to help you to make it happen so we can best support families facing challenges to help them create a safe and loving environment where children can get the care they need.

Why are we focusing on Neighbourhoods?

There is promising and emerging evidence that place based interventions, processes and systems can help reduce children’s involvement in crime and violence. 

There are a wide range of interventions and services to help neighbourhoods and communities deal with the challenging situations they’re facing. Our goal is to build knowledge about the most effective ways to support families, carers, and young people within the Neighbourhoods sector.  The system we’re focusing on is the Neighbourhoods sector, which has responsibility for place-based interventions, processes, and systems to reduce children and young people’s involvement in violence.

Toolkit Evidence

See below evidence from the YEF Toolkit about approaches to reducing violence that are often used in the Neighbourhoods sector:

Estimated impact approaches evidence quality
(10%-30% less violence)
Hot spots policing
1 2 3 4 5
(2%-9% less violence)
1 2 3 4 5
(-1%-1% change in violence)
Street lighting
1 2 3 4 5
Media campaigns
1 2 3 4 5
Knife surrender schemes
1 2 3 4 5

Place-based approaches may also draw upon a variety of other approaches and interventions based on the needs of communities, children, and their families. Explore more approaches on YEF’s Toolkit summarising the best available research evidence on preventing children and young people’s involvement in violence.

In addition to interventions identified in the Toolkit, we are also testing hyper-local place-based approaches for children at risk of violence, piloting an area leaders programme, and have commissioned systems research for children at risk of violence.

Changing Practice

What should providers working in neighbourhoods and communities do to prevent violence?

In March 2026 we’ll publish our Neighbourhoods Practice Guidance. Through this guidance we’re aiming to provide neighbourhoods leaders across England and Wales with actionable advice on how to support the prevention of young people’s involvement in violence. When incidences occur, the impacts are keenly felt by the peers, workers, families, and communities that surround the children involved. Neighbourhood and community leaders are often left asking, what role can we play to prevent violence in the future? This guidance will aim to answer this question.

Changing the system

In March 2026 we’ll publish a report outlining the 5-10 ways the neighbourhoods system could make it easier to do what works to keep children safe from violence. We will be working with a Strategic Group of senior leaders across the neighbourhoods sector to help us shape these recommendations. The report will be informed by the evidence YEF has already produced, evaluations that will complete by March 2026, and new research that YEF will commission following advice from the Strategic Group.

Find out how you can get involved with YEF

You are invited to join all our events to see how we can collectively tackle violence prevention for young people.

We are funding projects through our Neighbourhood Fund to test different models and approaches to community engagement to better understand how, where, and why it can keep children safe from involvement in violence. We are also funding projects through our Agency Collaboration Fund to find out the most effective ways agencies can work together to identify and support the children most at risk. Projects in this area include new evaluations, secondary data analysis projects and systems research.

View all of YEF’s Funding and Evaluation projects.