Violence Interruption Project

How We Operate

The Violence Interruption Project (VIP) is comprised of Full-time/Part time Violence Interrupters and Outreach Workers. The staff team all have first-hand knowledge of ‘street life’ and offending behaviour. Our Violence Interrupters use their credibility, influence and street relationships to detect brewing conflicts and de-escalate and mediate them before they erupt in violence.  Through their leadership we aim to build stronger communities who join together to tackle violence. They feel ownership of this issue and experience its effects in their everyday lives. They have the passion and commitment to make their communities safer and enhance the lives of young men and women affected.

 The model is based on the US Cure Violence theory that violence is a disease in communities and if left untreated, will continue to exist.   We understand violence to be a serious risk to individual and social health and wellbeing. We have three projects dedicated to the prevention of violence: Violence Interruption Programme, Prison/Resettlement Support and Community Outreach.

Prevent Retaliations

Whenever a violent incident happens, the team immediately work in the community in order to attempt to ‘cool down’ emotions and prevent retaliations – working with the victims, friends and family of the victim, and anyone else is connected with the event.

Mediate Ongoing Conflicts

The team identify ongoing conflicts by engaging key people in the community about ongoing disputes and use mediation techniques to resolve them peacefully.  All conflicts and mediations have to be discussed with the team and strategies to address them are put in place.  Sometimes, this can take months, depending on the seriousness of the conflict.

Follow up on Conflicts

The team follow up with conflicts for as long as needed, sometimes for months, to ensure that the conflict does not become violent.  This may mean spending a great deal of time with individuals, mentoring and guiding them.

Real Life Example 2: G’s Story

G has a history of violence and was in conflict with a group of men living in the same area. G had disrespected the mother of one the men on the estate and was subsequently beaten by the younger members of the group. We immediately were alerted to the conflict and began negotiations with both parties to curb the violence.

We spoke to G and explained the possible consequences for him should he respond to the assault with further violence. G agreed not to antagonise the situation. We then contacted one of the group elders and asked him not to react to any threats made by G. He agreed that no one from the group would do anything to G should a situation arise. Since we intervened, no further violence has occurred between G and the group. We continue to work with G on strategies to keep him safe within the borough.

Real Life Example: J’s Story

This case involved a high-risk nominal, J. J was involved in group related violence. A rival group opened fire on his mother’s house. Tempers were running very high and J was set to retaliate against the group. J had a history of violence and because the two groups had been engaged in tit-for-tat violence another violent episode was inevitable.

Violence Interrupters’s at Chaos Theory were familiar with J’s family and the rivalry between the two groups. We intervened in the ‘golden hour’ just after the violent episode and removed J from the area. Chaos Theory then worked to him calm him down so that he would not retaliate against the attack on the house. They also contacted the rival group and gained assurances that they would not attack J’s family. To date, a year on from the event, no violence has ensued between J and the rival group.