Policy actions  2 of 3

Violence including knife crime

The majority of people in Scotland do not experience violent crime but for those who do, the consequences can be devastating. Violence of any kind is totally unacceptable and will not be tolerated.

Tackling any form of violence including knife crime is a key priority for this government. Alcohol, drug and substance misuse contributes to a wide range of social and health problems, including antisocial behaviour, crime and domestic violence. Over half of all violent crime is thought to be alcohol-related.

That is why alongside enforcement and prosecution we are taking forward a number of actions including minimum unit pricing of alcohol. Scotland uses a public health approach to violence that focuses on tackling the underlying root causes through collaborative prevention and early intervention. Good progress has been made, but we recognise there is much more we need to do.

Recorded crime, including violent crime, is now considerably lower than a decade ago, with fewer victims, but for some types of crime, including sexual crime, the number of offences reported to police has increased over the last 10 years.

We continue to invest in violence prevention through our support to the work of partners, including:

Scottish Violence Reduction Unit

The Scottish Violence Reducation Unit uses a public health approach to trial and test out opportunities to prevent, interrupt and divert individuals away from violence using evidence and intelligence on what works to prevent violence.

Medics Against Violence

Medics Against Violence is a charity  supported by NHS professionals who volunteer at local schools, speaking directly to young people about the dangers and consequences of engaging in violence, providing a medical perspective on the impact of alcohol and drugs on the teenage brain and providing advice on how to keep themselves and their peers safe. 

Hospital Navigator Service

Developed by the SVRU and co-ordinated and supported nationally by Medics Against Violence, the Hospital Navigator Service interrupts violence by supporting people involved in chaotic and violent lifestyles who present within an Emergency Department (ED) or hospital ward. The service now operates in nine hospitals across Scotland with further expansion being explored. An additional Youth Navigator service, based on the learning from the adult model, is taking place in the children’s hospital Emergency departments at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, St John's Livingston and Glasgow to support young people.

Mentors in Violence Prevention

Mentors in Violence Prevention is a bystander programme engaging young people to speak out against gender-based violence, bullying, abusive and violent behaviour, as well as the negative societal attitudes and assumptions which underpin this behaviour. It is a peer education programme, empowering young people with the knowledge, skills and confidence to understand and safely challenge gender based violence issues so they become part of the solution to tackling violence against women and girls. 

Education Scotland are working with all 32 local authority areas to support delivery of the programme to young people. 

No Knives Better Lives

No Knives Better Lives is a youth engagement programme that aims to prevent violence and knife carrying amongst young people. The NKBL programme is delivered at a local level by all 32 local authority areas across Scotland, and is supported by the National NKBL Delivery Team based at YouthLink Scotland. It provides resources, support and training to partners, including Police Scotland and youth workers, to work with young people in an empowering way to deliver violence prevention messages. 

Police Scotland Youth Volunteers

Police Scotland Youth Volunteers is a programme that provides young people aged 13-18 from a mix of backgrounds with the opportunity to gain confidence and develop leadership skills by volunteering with Police Scotland and volunteering in their local community. 

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Violence Reduction Policy Team
St Andrews House
1W Regent Road Edinburgh

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