Violence Reduction Networks (VRNs)

The most effective protective factor for many children is the quality of relationships around them, not just their family but also people in the community in which they live. Schools are a key part of this community and can build a compassionate and safe environment around children/families that helps develop the resilience to move on from trauma.

To this aim, Thames Valley VRU have developed a Violence Reduction Network in Oxford to support embedded trauma informed practices in schools. Chaired by Ellie Payne, the Designated Safeguarding Lead at Wheatley Park School, the network has grown to include nearly 20 schools and colleges from across the area and members have had training in various trauma informed areas including the following:

  • The effects of trauma in behaviour presentation,
  • Starting conversations with students about their substance use
  • TVP’s award winning drug diversion scheme
  • Informed consent and successfully discussing issues with students

Over the next few months the network will also be exploring the architecture of the brain and how the intergenerational cycle of adversity shapes our long term mental and physical health courtesy of Dr Katy Smart and the Oxford Brain Story.

The growing success of the Network has led to early conversations across other parts of the Thames Valley and Ellie’s leadership has shown how VRNs can flourish and lead to more inclusive, trauma informed schools.

More information on VRNs, including Terms of Reference, guiding principles and the Oxford case study are available via our resources page.