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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
Real life example: G's Story
G has a history of violence and was in conflict with a group of men living in the same area. G had disrespected the mother of one the men on the estate and was subsequently beaten by the younger members of the group. We immediately were alerted to the conflict and began negotiations with both parties to curb the violence.
We spoke to G and explained the possible consequences for him should he respond to the assault with further violence. G agreed not to antagonise the situation. We then contacted one of the group elders and asked him not to react to any threats made by G. He agreed that no one from the group would do anything to G should a situation arise. Since we intervened, no further violence has occurred between G and the group. We continue to work with G on strategies to keep him safe within the borough.