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Wolverhampton Violence Reduction Service (WVRS)

Preventative and targeted intervention for individuals at risk of being drawn into or harmed by gangs and support for entrenched gang members to move on through viable alternatives.

18-30 | Wolverhampton

Our pilot community 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, adults and their families are supported to address areas of identified risk and are encouraged to engage with constructive activities that promote pro-social opportunities and offer real alternatives that lead to positive offence free futures.

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

Wolverhampton Violence Reduction Resettlement Team

The Wolverhampton Violence Reduction Resettlement Team provide a specialist wraparound holistic service, maximising outcomes for offenders leaving custody and being resettled into the Wolverhampton area.

This Through the Gate support empowers individuals to move away from gang lifestyles by developing new skills and providing the opportunity for social reintegration into the community through guidance and practical help.

Our approach

Our approach is based on the research completed by the Catch22 Dawes Unit in 2014 (Gangs in Prison: The nature and impact of gang involvement among prisoners) and focuses on offering alternatives to the status and safety provided by gangs, which has been shown to be more effective than the suppression-only approaches used in many prisons.

The service provides individuals with practical support and aims to:

  • Motivate disengagement with pro-criminal peers and considers alternative pro-social life options.
  • Work with partner agencies to ensure resettlement prospects are maximised and meet the specific needs of the cohort.
  • Prevent high risk individuals from being involved in harmful activities by encouraging involvement in meaningful and positive activity.

Whilst in custody, individuals referred to the service are prioritised to participate in our Rehabilitation Offering Another Direction (R.O.A.D) group intervention programme. Following course completion, individuals are allocated to a project worker 12 weeks prior to release.  Project workers will engage participants in one-to-one work and will create a personalised action plan focusing on gang-exit strategies.

To ensure relational continuity, the same project worker meets the individual at the gate on the day of release and supports them thereafter in the community.  The TTG model provides traditional one-to-one caseworker support using a trauma-based approach to meet the complex and specialist needs of the client group.  Project workers provide mental health support, employment support, family support and housing advocacy.  Sessions focus on supporting the individual to engage with partner agencies with a view of leaving the gang associated and violent lifestyle behind.

Who is it for?

The service targets both male and females aged 18-30 years who are in prison and who are gang involved, at risk of gang involvement, have been affected by gangs and/or have been sentenced for violent offences that have involved a weapon. They may have:

  • Experienced violence directly
  • Experienced exploitation from gangs
  • Been in prison for violent of gang affiliated offences
  • Been involved or pressured to commit crime such as robbery, dealing illegal substances or involved in county lines
  • Felt unsafe in the area they live in

What makes us different?

Catch22’s collaboration with community-based organisations facilitates a fully supported transition from custody into community. We encourage individuals to leave their gang-affiliated life and wherever possible, we will facilitate participants’ pro-social intentions upon release. There are three key aspects to our approach:

  • Innovative Collaboration: This our first Through the Gate mentoring service in Wolverhampton for gang-affiliated or violent offenders.  The service is designed to complement and enhance existing local services across Wolverhampton and fill the gaps in provision.
  • Inclusive Cohort: Our model recognises the complexities of gang involvement and the blurring lines between victim and offender, and young person and adult. The service is for anyone aged 18-30 who has been criminally or sexually exploited by gangs. Victims and offenders of violence are supported, as well as those wanting to move away from gang-affiliation or involvement.
  • Integrated Service: Our one-to-one caseworker support comes from a trauma-based approach, meeting the complex and specialist needs of clients, which includes support for mental health, employment, family dynamics, and housing advocacy.

Research and policy

The Wolverhampton Violence Reduction Service uses evidence-based practice to ensure the best chance of success. Our approach and models are underpinned in theoretical research and have been informed by our service users to ensure we are able to respond to their needs effectively.

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 accepted from agencies, families and individuals. We encourage you to call us to discuss any potential referral before completing a referral form, so we can confirm the service would suit the individual.

To be eligible for referral, the person should be:

  • Aged 18-30 and involved with a gang and/or sentenced to a violent offence, that includes a weapon.
  • At significant risk of harm from gang activity, such as violence or exploitation, and a risk to themselves or others.
  • Motivated to end their affiliation with a gang and willing to work with the service.

Volunteer and placement opportunities

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