University of Wolverhampton researchers are to lead a project which aims to assess the effectiveness of efforts to reduce violence in the West Midlands.
The West Midlands Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) was launched in October 2019 as an alliance of organisations in the West Midlands which share the priority of ‘reducing violence’.
The importance of thorough evaluation has been championed by Public Health England who are a key partner within the VRU.
The Violence Reduction Unit was set up after receiving a £3.37m grant from the Home Office and just over £500,000 from the Police and Crime Commissioner.
The University’s Institute of Community Research and Development (ICRD) has been appointed as the lead evaluator of the West Midlands Violence Reduction Unit.
The evaluation will be delivered in partnership with the Birmingham Voluntary Service Council and the University of Birmingham.
Professor Laura Caulfield, Chair of the Institute for Community Research and Development said “We are delighted to be working with the West Midlands Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) on this important project, which aims to improve the lives of people right across the region.
“The award of this project recognises our significant expertise in this area of research, and we anticipate working with the VRU on an on-going basis in order to capture the longer term evidence of the impact of the work.”
Meanwhile, Dr Lola Abudu, Director of Health and Wellbeing with PHE West Midlands, said: “Violence is a public health issue; living without the fear of violence is a fundamental requirement for health and wellbeing. By taking a public health approach, agencies across the region are working together to understand and address the causes of violence and reduce it. Violence is preventable, not inevitable, and we are grateful to the University of Wolverhampton for leading the project to evaluate the excellent work being done by the West Midlands Violence Reduction Unit.”
The evaluation team have been commissioned to evaluate the ‘whole-systems approach’ that is being adopted by the VRU and to develop a Theory of Change, which will inform an evaluation framework for the entire VRU, as well as evaluation protocols for individual interventions commissioned by the VRU. This will:
- allow the VRU to understand the impact of their work on addressing the causes of violence across the region
- help the VRU continue to continue to develop their approach through evidence-based commissioning and practice
- and will provide new understanding and knowledge that can be shared nationally and internationally
The partnership between the University of Wolverhampton, Birmingham Voluntary Service Council, and the University of Birmingham brings together unique and impressive expertise in large-scale programme evaluation, violence reduction, and community research.