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Wolverhampton Violence Reduction Team (WVRS)

Early intervention and preventative measures for young people at risk of being drawn into or harmed by gangs and support for entrenched gang members to move on and out through viable alternatives.

Wolverhampton | West Midlands

Our pilot gangs programme was set up in 2011 to test an ‘end to end’ approach to the issues that gangs and gang-related activities generate. Young people and their families are supported through all the key points of risk in their lives, including points at which they are ready to make changes.

The work is delivered in partnership with statutory and voluntary agencies and aims to respond to individual and community need, ensuring that the right interventions are in place at the right time.

Our Wolverhampton Violent Reduction Team three tier model was created from our research and in consultation with our young people to ensure we are able to respond effectively. Our model is made up of three distinct tiers:

Tier 1: Prevention and Education

Tier 2: Core Interventions

Tier 3: Engagement and Monitoring

We believe targeting young people before they become affiliated is the best way to prevent future gang members and protect those vulnerable as a result of gang involvement. Giving them the right tools to make the correct choices will help steer them away from the Criminal Justice system and towards a positive future.

  • Targeted work
    One-to-one support / key work: an integral part of the team’s work, one-to-one support is provided for those who are most vulnerable or fully entrenched into the gang lifestyle. The needs of each client are assessed and key workers work closely with both the individual and the family/network around them to identify practical solutions. Referrals are accepted from voluntary and statutory organisations; young people can also self-refer.
    Intervention and prevention
  • Street detached programme: the team delivers an outreach programme engaging with local residents, shops and businesses as well as with young people at risk of gang involvement. There are two main focuses of our detached work:

o To bring the community together through listening to the challenges they face and ensuring they are aware we are here to help.

o To offer support to young people. This support can be seen in a variety of areas including 1 to 1 support with employment and providing opportunities to get involved in a wide range of activities such as sports, music and social events.

  • Workshops in schools: the team delivers an ‘anger and emotions’ workshop in local primary schools to students who are displaying challenging behaviour. The team work with the young people over a period of time either on a 1-to-1 basis or a small group setting. This offers an open space for the young people to develop through engaging in (insert good word) activities outside of the classroom.
  • ‘Help Yourself’ females group: a 12 week programme for vulnerable young females who are at risk of gang involvement, who want support in tackling the issues that are affecting their well-being and their future. The programme shows and offers alternative options and ensures that the girls understand what impact their choices are having on them, their family and their communities. Our aim is to support and empower females to make informed decisions to take care of themselves, change their situation and their future.

Family support

  • Parent/Carer support groups: the team offer parents, information and advice, emotional and moral support, a safe and confidential meeting place and lastly, a listening ear. Using a family empowerment approach works towards bringing families back together as opposed to just working with the young person.
  • Family intervention: the team works together with the siblings and family members of young people either at risk of gang involvement or entrenched gang members.



  • Tutor-led sessions: bespoke programmes for individuals or small groups for clients who have fallen behind with studies at school or who are not in mainstream education.
  • Work in school: group sessions at local schools for students at risk of gang involvement, which may include gang awareness, knives, guns and joint enterprise. The team also works closely with schools regarding individual referrals and offers teacher training sessions on recognising indicators and supporting pupils at risk of harm or involvement with gangs.


  • CV building services and writing support: the team can provide CV building services whereby the young people input their information and a CV is created for them. Alongside this, 1-to-1 support is offered to young people with key CV writing skills, to empower young people to create their own.
  • Signpost relevant agencies: the team have strong links with key employment agencies. Young people are signposted to the appropriate employment support.


  • Training programmes: training to help professionals support young people at risk of gang involvement or already involved and their families, either in the team’s specialist training office or in the workplace. Subjects include gang awareness, knife awareness, safeguarding, risk management, Child criminal exploitation (CCE) and child sexual exploitation (CSE). Training for young people includes knife crime prevention, gangs and group offending, preventing racist violence, joint enterprise and conflict resolution.

Work in prisons

  • Bespoke services: the team liaises with local prisons to identify beneficial services, including referrals for gang-associated inmates prior to release and assistance with the resettlement process for key work clients deemed ‘at risk’ upon leaving custody.
  • R.O.A.D (Rehabilitation Offering Another Direction) programme: the team deliver this programme to young offenders currently on custodial sentences, which offers sessions on restorative practice and rehabilitation techniques.


Research and policy

The Wolverhampton Violence Reduction Team uses evidence-based practice to ensure the best chance of success, with a dedicated Research and policy team based in the Catch22 head office in London.

Read the research underpinning this pilot

Referral options for this service

You can refer yourself
You can refer family or a friend
You can refer a client

Referrals and self-referrals are also accepted from agencies, families and individuals.

How to make a referral?

We encourage you to call to discuss any potential referral before completing a referral form so that we can be sure the person is eligible for the service.  To be eligible for referral, the person (male or female) should be:

  • Aged 18-30 associated with, or involved in, gangs and/or sentenced of violent offences with or without weapons.
  • At significant risk of harm from gang activity (such as violence or exploitation), a risk to themselves, or pose a risk of harm to others.
  • Motivated to end their gang involvement (if applicable) and are willing to work with the service.

Please make all enquiries about the WVRS via the contact details listed on this page.

Volunteer and placement opportunities

You can't volunteer for this service
You can't get a placement at this service