Medics Against Violence: tackling violence in young people
250 health volunteers reach over 30,000 young people across 90 schools
School pupils are benefitting from the advice of their peers as part of an innovative programme aimed at reducing violent crime. Medics Against Violence is led by health professionals and was created in 2008 in response to the level of young people sustaining injuries following violent incidents.
Two schools are now piloting Medics Against Violence ‘Interns’ with their senior pupils, who have so far delivered lessons on violence reduction to over 700 of their colleagues so far.
Justice Secretary Michael Matheson met pupils in both S6 and S3 at Boclair Academy in Bearsden where he saw the lessons in action.
He said: “Everyone has the right to feel safe and to live their lives free from the fear of crime. I am committed to tackling all forms of violence across Scotland and we will continue to work with our national and local partners to make our communities safer and stronger.
“Violent crime has reduced by 52% between 2006/07 and 2015/16 and recorded crimes of handling an offensive weapon have fallen by 69% over ten years. However, we recognise that there is still more we all need to do.
“The work of Medics Against Violence fits well with our overall approach of prevention and early intervention and I’m pleased to see they’re reached a significant number of school children. The Interns project in particular will help educate our young people on the harm that violent crime can cause, as well as its consequences.”
Lord Advocate James Wolffe QC added: “Thankfully crimes of possessing a weapon have decreased over a ten-year period and fewer people have been admitted to hospital as a result of knife crime. The work of organisations like Medics Against Violence who explain the consequences of carrying a knife in a way which young people relate to has, I believe, contributed to this.
“However, it is vital that we don’t become complacent and that we continue to use education to get a strong message across that carrying a knife has serious and sometimes fatal consequences.
“Prosecutors will take swift, effective action in knife crime cases. COPFS is committed to ensuring that perpetrators of this crime are forced to face up to the consequences of their actions at the earliest opportunity.”
Dr Christine Goodall, director at Medics Against Violence also said: “MAV Interns has given us the opportunity to harness the skills and knowledge of young people and the influence they have over their younger peers to deliver very effective and credible violence prevention lessons.
“The enthusiasm they have shown for the programme over the last three years in this school has been boundless and it is clear that this is a subject that young people find important and relevant.
“We take the approach that young people need to look out for each other and this ‘keeping the whole school safe’ approach has allowed the 6 year pupils to take a leadership role in making sure that happens.”
Depute Leader of East Dunbartonshire Council, Gillian Renwick said: “By working together, Boclair Academy and MAV are ensuring that the anti-weapon message is being delivered to hundreds of pupils, helping to keep them safe in their communities. This is such a worthwhile and productive partnership.”