Policy actions  2 of 3

Violence including knife crime

Violence is preventable but it is a complex issue which comes in many forms and can encompass, but is not limited to verbal, physical, sexual and emotional abuse.

Scotland has adopted a public health approach to tackling violence, as advocated by the World Health Organisation. This includes prevention activity such as education and early intervention coupled with appropriate law enforcement as necessary.

We need to continue to tackle the causes of violence, not just the symptoms. Only by doing this will we be able to break the cycle of violence and reduce the impact that it has on individuals, their families and our communities.

To prevent and reduce violence, we work closely with many organisations and financially support the following:

Scottish Violence Reduction Unit

A key part of our work to tackle violence is through our support for the Scottish Violence Reduction Unit, the national centre of expertise on violence.

We have funded the Unit since 2008, and it is internationally recognised as being at the forefront of our approach to preventing violence.

The Unit works with various partners to deliver prevention programmes.

Navigator programme

Navigator is a service that supports people to move away from violent lifestyles.

It is based within the emergency departments of Glasgow Royal Infirmary and Royal Infirmary Edinburgh, and will be expanded during 2018 to 2019 to also be delivered in Crosshouse Hospital in Ayshire and the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow.

Navigators connect with patients in the emergency department and can continue to work with them in their community after they are discharged, helping them to gain access to specialist services depending on their particular needs.

Medics Against Violence

Medics Against Violence(MAV) was set up in 2008 by three surgeons who dealt every day with the awful consequences of violence.

MAV aims to prevent violence through education. They run a secondary school programme delivered by MAV volunteers, all NHS professionals, which involves speaking to young people about the consequences of violence and how to stay safe.

Mentors in Violence Prevention programme

The Mentors in Violence Prevention programme (MVP), developed by the Violence Reducation Unit, promotes positive relationships through health and wellbeing for young people.

The national education body, Education Scotland, deliver this programme to young people across schools in Scotland.

MVP Scotland is a bystander programme which aims to empower young people to safely challenge and speak out against bullying, abusive and violent behaviour, as well as the negative attitudes and assumptions which underpin this behaviour.

A key component of the types of behaviours and attitudes which MPV seeks to address centres on gender-based violence and attitudes and assumptions towards women and girls.

No Knives Better Lives

Tackling knife crime is a key priority for us. That is why we have been funding No Knives Better Lives, a youth engagement programme that aims to reduce the incidence of violence and knife-carrying amongst young people.

This is done through local partnerships, which work to raise awareness of the potentially devastating risks and consequences associated with carrying a knife and encouraging young people to make positive life choices.

Police Scotland Youth Volunteers

The Police Scotland Youth Volunteers Programme provides young people aged 13 to 18 with the opportunity to gain confidence and develop leadership skills, by working with the police and volunteering in their local community.

The young people involved in this programme have the opportunity to continue with further education and gain vocational awards.

Violence and alcohol

Alcohol 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 we are taking forward a number of actions to reduce alcohol misuse in Scotland, including minimum unit pricing of alcohol.

Evidence and research

Various statistical sources tell us that there has been a sustained, long-term reduction in violent crime in Scotland over the last decade. See crime and violence statistics for more information.

Related content


Email: ViolenceReduction@gov.scot  

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