Breaking the cycle of violence

Pioneering scheme to support victims of violence to be expanded.

More patients affected by violence will be offered support during admission to hospital to help them turn away from violence in their lives.

The Scottish Government has awarded £140,000 to the Scottish Violence Reduction Unit to expand its ‘Navigator’ programme to Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow and Crosshouse Hospital in South Ayrshire.

Navigator is a unique scheme which seeks to help people trapped in a cycle of violence. Mentors or ‘navigators’ provide support in hospital, help to diffuse difficult situations, and identify support services that patients can access.

Justice Secretary Michael Matheson announced the funding ahead of an address to 60 cyclists embarking on a charity bike ride in aid of the Navigators’ Running on Empty Fund.

He said:

“Violent crime in Scotland has nearly halved over the last decade but there remains a small number of victims who experience a high proportion of such crimes.

“Navigators do a remarkable job dealing sensitively and compassionately with people who are injured and distressed – helping them make steps towards turning their lives around, breaking away from the cycle of violence – and I am pleased to be able to fund their expansion.

“In less than two years this unique programme has offered support to more than 450 people, as well as reassuring emergency department staff that patients who come through their doors will receive a listening ear and practical support as well as the medical treatment they need.”

Inspector Keith Jack, Navigator project lead said:

“Thanks to this additional funding from the Scottish Government the Navigators will be able to help more people break free from the cycle of violence. We work closely with our dedicated NHS colleagues in Glasgow and Edinburgh to help support those affected by violence towards a safer and healthier future. Often people just need a helping hand to make changes which benefit them, their families and their communities. We're looking forward to working closely with the hard working medical teams at Queen Elizabeth and Crosshouse hospitals. Together we can help navigate people towards a better life."


The Navigator programme helps patients who have been victims or perpetrators of violence to make changes to improve their lives. Navigator is run by the Scottish Violence Reduction Unit in collaboration with Medics Against Violence, NHS Lothian, NHS GGC and NHS Ayrshire and Arran.

Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow and University Hospital Crosshouse in East Ayrshire will each receive two Navigators who are employed by Medics Against Violence, to work within the hospital emergency departments. The costs of the Navigators is £70,000 per hospital – a total of £140,000 – to host the Navigator programme for 12 months into two new hospitals.

The Running on Empty Fund has been created to allow Navigators to provide more support – including financial help – to people whose circumstances are particularly challenging.

The number of violent crimes in Scotland has fallen 49% since 2006-07, to one of the lowest levels seen since 1974.


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