Dr. Karen Jones (Associate Professor of Educational Leadership and Management, University of Reading) has been working with Thames Valley Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) on a UK Research and Innovation’s Strategic Priorities Fund-funded project to build capacity for co-designed research and build an evidence base of what works to prevent and tackle gender-based violence. Focused attention has been given to Education, as this plays a critical role in violence prevention and early intervention.
Tom Goodenough is the Education Lead for Thames Valley VRU and he has been supporting schools across the Thames Valley with the roll out of a programme known as ‘Mentors in Violence Prevention’ (MVP). MVP uses a peer-led leadership and bystander approach to deal with behaviour ranging from name-calling to sexting, bullying, controlling behaviour to sexual harassment, rape, and sexual assault.
Tom explained “MVP helps young people understand the dynamics of gender-based violence, so they learn to recognise violence in all its forms and feel confident challenging attitudes and behaviours that lead to violence, safely.”
In 2021, Thames Valley VRU rolled-out MVP to secondary schools across the Thames valley and there has been early adoption of that programme, which Karen is evaluating.
Karen stated: “This evaluation seeks to established what worked with MVP, for whom, in what respects, in which circumstances and why, to enable MVP and similar interventions to be improved in future.”
In addition to MVP, Thames Valley VRU is planning a suite of educational resources for schools.