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New research finds promising ways of preventing violence

£200 million Youth Endowment Fund publish more evidence and insights in their flagship Toolkit

Today, the Youth Endowment Fund (YEF) has added new evidence to their Toolkit, a free online resource which summarises research on what works – and what doesn’t – to reduce youth violence.

The tool is there to help police forces, local authorities, youth charities, school leaders and others invest in the approaches most likely to keep children safe from involvement in violence. When it launched last summer, the Toolkit included evidence about 13 different approaches. Now it’s been updated with four new topics and brand new evidence.

And there’s good news. Some approaches show real promise at preventing the young people they support from becoming involved in violence in the future.

A&E navigators is one of these promising approaches. It works by placing case workers in hospital emergency departments, to offer support to children and young people with a violence-related injury. That might be through building a trusted relationship, offering informal mentoring or helping young people to access other services.

But while studies indicate that these projects might make a real difference to the children most vulnerable to violence, at the moment, we need more research to be really confident in that assessment. That’s because there haven’t been many studies conducted on how and why A&E navigators work.

That’s why the YEF is here. They invest in promising projects, so that they can find out what works to prevent children and young people becoming involved in violence. They’re working to strengthen the evidence about A&E navigators, by investing in:

  • diversion programmes, which aim to provide support at a ‘turning point’ in a young person’s life. As part of a wide programme of funding, we’ve invested over £3 million in funding and evaluating Redthread, a charity who have youth work teams are embedded in emergency departments of 13 hospitals across London, Nottinghamshire and Birmingham.
  • a project with Thames Valley’s Violence Reduction Unit, to fund and evaluate voluntary sector organisations to deliver navigator interventions across five hospitals.

Over time, the YEF will continue to add what they find to the Toolkit. This means that they can provide easy-to-understand evidence you can rely on. By providing decision-makers with the best possible information about what works, the YEF will help to make sure children get the right support at the right time. That way, we can keep children safe from involvement in violence.

To access the Youth Endowment Fund’s Toolkit, please visit:

What about the other updates?

Other updates to the Toolkit include new information on:

  • Restorative justice is a process which supports the victim of a crime and the person responsible to communicate, repair harm, and find a positive way forward. The Toolkit shows there’s likely to be a moderate impact on reducing future violence for children who take part.
  • Prison awareness programmes, which are, on average, actually harmful to children and young people and might cause more violence. They aim to deter children from crime by demonstrating the difficulties of life in prison and sometimes treat participating children harshly and focus on intimidation and fear.
  • Trauma-informed training and service redesign, which refers to organisations integrating an understanding of trauma into their policies, procedures and practices. While it is being adopted by lots of organisations, the Toolkit hasn’t found enough evidence on the difference it makes to preventing youth violence. We need more research to understand how it might work.

There’s also an update to the evidence in the Toolkit on sports programmes. While the evidence isn’t strong, it does show that sports activities aimed at the children and young people most vulnerable to violence could have a high impact on reducing violence.

Using the YEF Toolkit

The YEF Toolkit is strongest when combined with the local knowledge that people working in police forces, local authorities, youth organisations and schools hold about the children in their community. It’s there to enhance that expertise and help people use evidence when they’re making decisions about how to help children stay safe from violence.

The YEF Toolkit exists to ensure that every pound spent on reducing violence is a pound that is well spent.

I’m delighted that we’ve found promising evidence of the difference that restorative justice and placing a youth-worker in A&E can make. It also tells us that – to be confident that the services we provide make a difference – we need to invest in gathering more evidence.

That’s what we’re here to do, and why we’re funding programmes like A&E navigators. We hope that, by using the YEF Toolkit, everyone working to keep young people safe – whether as Police and Crime Commissioners, Violence Reduction Unit Directors or a local authority leads – will fund the most promising activity.

The more evidence we find, the more we’ll add to the Toolkit. Every six months, we’ll keep adding what we’ve learned. That way, we can help you to make decisions, by enhancing your local knowledge. 

By working together, we can make sure that no child becomes involved in violence.

Jon Yates, Executive Director, Youth Endowment Fund

To access the Youth Endowment Fund’s Toolkit, please visit: