Violence Interruption Project
The Violence Interruption Project (VIP) is comprised of Full-time/Part-time Violence Interrupters. Our intervention and strategy is successful and having an impact in stopping and reducing violence. The key elements to this success is that the team have first-hand knowledge of ‘street life’ and crime. Our VI's use their credibility, influence and street relationships to detect brewing conflicts and de-escalate and mediate them before they erupt in violence. It is critical that our VI's are from the community we operate in and know it well, having access to the highest risk/hardest to reach, challenging individuals. This places them in a strong leadership position to influence change and build stronger communities.
Mediate on-going conflicts
Follow up on conflicts
Whenever a violent incident happens, the team immediately work in the community in order to attempt to ‘cool down’ emotions and prevent retaliations – working with the victims, friends and family of the victim, and anyone else is connected with the event.
As part of our user feedback, a mother was asked whether she thinks CT has had an impact on people’s lives she answered;
"Yes, definitely. I think Chaos Theory is excellent. They have built up trust with the boys; the community are very engaged with Chaos Theory. They are helping so many people and sorting things out. The violence interrupters have had a rotten past themselves and have been through some of the things the young men have been through so they understand much better. Chaos Theory has helped me with several things including liaising with social services."
The team identify ongoing conflicts by engaging key people in the community about ongoing disputes and use mediation techniques to resolve them peacefully. All conflicts and mediations have to be discussed with the team and strategies to address them are put in place. Sometimes, this can take months, depending on the seriousness of the conflict.
Service User Feedback
''Since getting advice and help from CT, I have managed to resolve a few conflicts with others that I have had, and I have seen people that I have had problems with before and have ‘minded my own business’. I do not retaliate like I did before as I have to think of the bigger picture, i.e., family and going to prison. Thanks to CT and especially Julian I have resolved the situation and managed to stop certain incidents with people. Now when I see them, things are calm. I want to give my gratitude to CT.’'
The team follow up with conflicts for as long as needed, sometimes for months, to ensure that the conflict does not become violent. This may mean spending a great deal of time with individuals, mentoring and guiding them.
Service User Feedback
‘'CT have been helping me for over a year. They helped me see risks of road life, worked with me to address conflict I had with another boy. This was sorted out and without Julian, I would have probably used violence. I now realise that this is not a way forward. Its so scary out here, most times we have no one we can trust or turn to. Trust is a big issue and Julian we can trust so much knowing he is not going to do us any harm. I’m slowly working with CT to change my life away from crime.''
Once the problem,
now the solution.
Julian is one of our senior Violence
Interrupters, read his story here
Violence Case Study
In December, 2 young men aged 19 and 23 years old were both seriously injured. One was shot and stabbed several times in the arm and back. The other was shot in the leg. Both were critical and at the Royal London hospital. One of the family members who we engage contacted his Violence Interrupter immediately to let him know what happened.
Our immediate response, following our VI process, is to attend the hospital whenever possible. Both VI’s attended the Royal London and met with both victims and families. Our initial concern is their wellbeing however this imminent response also gave the team a chance to assess the situation and likelihood of further violence and retaliation. We are in a great position of trust in the community to be able to have such access to individuals who we can talk through what has happened.
That immediate hospital intervention allowed us to gather more information and have an action plan to attempt to stop retaliation. Both victims were in hospital for 5 weeks.
We then began the process of working with these two young men and their families. We offered the families support around housing advocacy to relocate for safeguarding issues and both families had the support of the authorities.
Our aim was to prevent a retaliation attack which we did. This was a long working process due to historical violence and deaths, but we made every attempt to ensure these two young men were offered the chance to have intensive mentoring and support to leave such a negative and dangerous lifestyle.