Any Other Relevant Information
Interventions suitable for
Males aged 16-25.
Programme title and provider
VOW Project – Police Scotland
Currently funded by Scottish Government’s Cashback for Communities Programme, Phase 5
Details of all Specific national or local scheme/intervention(s) available
The VOW Project is a collaborative initiative involving police officers, working alongside inspirational peer mentors, who use their lived experience of the criminal justice system, trauma, and adversity to make a real difference to the lives of young people. The team use their unique skillset to engage and work with vulnerable young people aged 16–24 years old, providing a level of support which assists them break the cycle of criminality and re-offending and reduce the level of risk-taking behaviour in their lives.
Through positive mentoring, empowerment and partnership working with a range of different organisations, the young people are supported and encouraged to make positive lifestyle changes and rebuild their lives and relationships with the aim of improving their outcomes and destinations. Police officers alone are unable to fully engage with the young people they need to help due to different barriers. The assistance of peer mentors in breaking down these barriers cannot be underestimated, and a symbiotic relationship exists between both. Peer mentors carry out initial interactions using their own life experience and can engage with the young people and help them take their first steps in moving away from their harm inducing behaviour. The existing strengths of the clients are brought out, relationships are built, and the young people are supported in a safe environment.
The team discover the young person’s aspirations and establish themselves as positive role models and provide a high level of support and encouragement. The young people are assisted in making positive choices and an action plan is agreed around reducing offending, building relationships, mental-health resilience and identify employment, training or voluntary opportunities, using both statutory and third sector partners.
The project also sees the team work with the ‘Turn Your Life Around’ (TYLA) programme which visits primary and secondary schools across Edinburgh, including alternative educational and youth settings, where lived experience volunteers tell their stories of adversity and deliver messages on topics such as choices, decision making and peer pressure. The young people are given a platform to discuss the stories, reflect on resilience factors and given the means to seek help with their own lives.
The provision of a trauma counselling service will augment the existing skills the officers and peer mentors have, which assists the TYLA volunteers and the vulnerable young people we are helping to turn their lives around.
The project is currently measured against six specific Outcomes that are set by Cashback for Communities, with separate indicators under each outcome. The general outcomes include:
- Building Confidence and Resilience, benefitting from support networks and reducing risk taking behaviour
- Developing personal and physical skills
- Improvement in health and well-being
- Participation in activity which improves learning, employability, training and volunteering
- Positive contributions being made to their communities
- Diversion from criminal behaviour or involvement with the criminal justice system
Process for Assessment and/or inclusion in scheme/intervention
The VOW Project identifies candidates who are repeatedly offending and coming to the attention of police and partners on a regular basis. Referrals are also taken from front line officers and specialists, those in custody, CJSW, Young Person’s Service, solicitors and a range of other areas.
Where no specific scheme/intervention is available, is there capacity to provide a bespoke service based on judicial request?
The VOW Project will take referrals from many sources and assess suitability for the project. Interventions will vary in relation to duration, with the key factor being, that clients are willing to work with the team to turn their life around and engage with the support offered.