Greater Manchester Violence Reduction Unit

By taking a public health approach, Greater Manchester Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) believes that violence is preventable not inevitable. Together we can stop violence from happening and preventing violence is better for all of us.

We will do this by working together to understand and address the underlying risk factors that increase the likelihood of an individual, and sometimes their families and friends, to become a victim and/or a perpetrator of violence. We will also work together to enhance and scale up the protective factors that reduce a person’s chance of being a victim and/or perpetrator of violence.

What is a public health approach to violence reduction?

The World Health Organization (2017) defines a public health approach to reducing violence as one that:

‘Seeks to improve the health and safety of all individuals by addressing underlying risk factors that increase the likelihood that an individual will become a victim or a perpetrator of violence. By definition, public health aims to provide the maximum benefit for the largest number of people. Programmes for primary prevention of violence based on the public health approach are designed to expose a broad segment of a population to prevention measures and to reduce and prevent violence at a population-level.’

Types of Prevention

The VRU believes that:


Violence is defined by the World Health Organization as:

“The intentional use of physical force or power, threatened or actual, against oneself, another person, or against a group or community, that either results in or has a high likelihood of resulting in injury, death, psychological harm, maldevelopment or deprivation.”

Policing and Criminal Justice

Life-Course and

Violence is of major public health importance and affects many people’s lives. People may be affected through injury, as well as harmful effects on neurological, cardiovascular, immune and other biological systems and also, sadly, death.

The VRU takes a whole system approach to violence prevention and includes childhood adversity and trauma, youth violence, intimate partner violence, interpersonal violence, which includes family or partner violence, as well as community violence including violence in institutional settings such as schools, workplaces, and prisons. We have a strong emphasis on preventing youth violence and violence against children, violence in open spaces and across our communities and being a voice for victims of violence.

Through our Strategic Needs Assessment for Violence, we have been able to understand the local prevalence of violence across Greater Manchester and provide an overview of our risk and protective factors, whilst also showing the complexity of violence across the life-course. We have brought local data and evidence together into one document and have taken a whole-system, life-course approach, which is led by our communities.

health Source: World Health Organization (WHO)

The VRU partnership provides strategic leadership on violence prevention, develops the evidence, considers the norms and standards, including implementation tools and has a strong partnership approach. Together, we focus on preventing all types of violence and in all settings, recognising the inter-dependencies and generational trauma.

A purple button with text that reads "VRU’s Strategic Needs Assessment for violence. Update 2023/24."

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