In December the Officers of the APPG visited Scotland’s young offender institution at Polmont, and met with the Scottish Violence Reduction Unit in Glasgow. The Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) has contributed to a 41-year low in violence across Scotland with homicides and violent crime falling by almost a half.
Officers heard how Scotland has made a conscious decision to reduce the number of young people in custody, which is less than half what it was 10 years ago. This enables a more human, relationship-based approach for young people in custody.
Meanwhile, the VRU and projects like Medics Against Violence focus on interventions to prevent violence before it occurs (such as primary school and parenting projects), or to break the ‘revenge cycle’ (such as hospital-based interventions)
While at Polmont, Officers were told that among children in trouble with the law in Scotland, 38% had experience of domestic violence; 75% had suffered a traumatic bereavement (such as suicide, drug death or murder); 76% had been threatened with a weapon; and 39% had special educational needs.