Violence: policy context

Violence reduction and prevention is vital to achieving a healthier and safer Scotland. The Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) was originally set up in 2005 to target all forms of violent behaviour, in particular knife crime and weapon carrying among young men in and around Glasgow. In April 2006, the VRU remit was extended nationally by the then Scottish Executive, creating a national centre of expertise on tackling violence. The unit adopt a public health approach to violence reduction and aim to reduce and prevent violence by working across different sectors, focussing on enforcement and tackling the fundamental causes of violent behaviour.

In addition to the work of the VRU, there are a number of policy areas and initiatives that focus on violence reduction and prevention, including intimate partner violence, violence against children, youth violence and weapon related violence.

The Scottish Government identifies five strategic objectives one of which is to create a safer and stronger Scotland 'to help local communities to flourish, becoming stronger, safer places to live, offering improved opportunities and a better quality of life.'

Violence prevention is intertwined within a number of Scottish Government strategies. Risk and protective factors for violence occur across the life course and range from individual to community and wider socio-economic risk factors. Key policies, strategies and programmes related to violence prevention and reduction include: