Khulisa co-publishes new violence reduction book

Today Khulisa is pleased to co-launch an important new book – ‘Curing Violence: How we can become a less violent society’.

Supported by the Monument Trust and our ‘Monument Legacy’ peers – The Koestler Trust, Diagrama, Clinks, National Criminal Justice Arts Alliance, Restorative Solutions, Centre for Justice Innovation and Lemos & Crane – this collection of essays explores violence from a range of perspectives, including contributions from:

  • Gary Younge (Award-winning Guardian Journalist)
  • Will Linden (Glasgow Violence Reduction Unit)
  • Chief Constable Mark Barton (Durham Police Force)
  • Vicky Foxcroft MP (Co-chair of the Youth Violence Commission)

Whilst the problem we explore is deeply troubling – the book is ultimately positive and solutions-focused in its tone; presenting ideas, solutions and evidence that can better tackle violence. Critically, this book acknowledges that the root-cause(s) of violence are complex; exploring violence from an individual, relational, community and societal perspective. We accept there is no silver-bullet to reduce violence and consider community-led responses, public-health approaches, personal views from those with lived experience of violent crime and – Khulisa’s focus – the importance of social emotional well-being and the effective management of relational and developmental trauma.

The Context of Violent Crime in the UK

Whilst overall crime has continued to decline over the last decade, offences involving knives and firearms are on the rise – in 2017 there was a 22% increase in knife crime and an 11% rise in gun crime (ONS, 2017). Knife crime is now at its highest ever recorded level with over 40,000 offences in the last year.

Violent crime affects us all.  It harms not only victims, but their families, friends and communities. It undermines the fabric of our society and is tragic waste of a persons’ potential. The economic cost is huge when you look at the additional cost in health, welfare and the prison system. Analysis of the total cost of violent crime to society indicates that in real terms it costs £124 billion a year. For context, that’s £4,700 per household or 17% of our total government-wide spend (Times, 2018).

There is a clear consensus that we are experiencing a surge in serious violence and this is now a ‘public health emergency.’ The root-causes of violent crime are however complex and the government has yet to develop a cogent, consistent response to the problem. There is increasing cross-party support for a ‘long-term public health response’ – i.e. something that looks at ‘curing’ rather than purely punishing violence and there is strong evidence to support the efficacy of this approach from successful violence reduction programmes in both Glasgow and Chicago.

A Well-being led Model of Violence Reduction

Khulisa supports this public health response and have been delivering programmes that explore the root-causes of violent crime for over 10 years; empowering over 3,500 young people at risk, prisoners and ex-prisoners to be diverted away from violence and crime.

We know there is overwhelming evidence that connects a troubled childhood and later violent behaviour:

  • People who experience 4 or more Adverse Childhood Experiences – including poverty, physical, mental or sexual abuse – are 10 times more likely to be involved in violence by the time they are 18
  • 85% of young people in prison have been excluded from school and youth crime is highest in areas where the most children are excluded

As a result, Khulisa adopts a wellbeing-approach to prevent and reduce violence; supporting people to explore the root causes of their trauma (and subsequent angry or violent behaviours), to learn new coping mechanisms, to make more positive choices for their future and to tackle the devastating cycle of violence they have experienced.

Delivered by qualified therapists, we run prevention programmes in schools and pupil referral units in areas of high crime and social deprivation and rehabilitation programmes in prisons/other community centres. Over 90% of the people we work with demonstrate improved coping skills and of those engaged with crime already on 7% will go on to re-offend (Khulisa, 2016).

Khulisa’s approach is inherent within the public health response – acknowledging that those most at risk of violence experience the most complex and multiple forms of disadvantage – increasing their chances of multiple and complex traumas during early childhood. To address this epidemic, we must surely understand and respond to this trauma before its’ impact takes hold in the critical adolescent period; responsibly, sensitively and effectively.

"In tackling violence, we tend to treat symptoms rather than root causes. Our experience has taught us that to become a less violent society we must meet people at the level of their emotional and development maturity and prioritise their social and emotional well-being."

Get Involved

You can download the e-book on the Centre for Justice Innovation’s website here, or purchase a copy of the book on the Koestler Trust’s website (here). Please share your thoughts with us on Twitter using #curingviolence and tagging @KhulisaUK

You can also join Khulisa at our upcoming Open-Mic night on the 13th November (7-9pm). Tickets are free but limited and can be reserved here.  Young people will take to the stage and share their views on what needs to be done to make our society a safer, less violent place to live. You can expect a variety of live performances including spoken word artists and musicians. You’ll also be welcome to share your own views and to stay behind after the event to meet our team and our performers.

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