Evidence from the World Health Organisation (2010) suggests that the risk of children and young people experiencing or being involved in violence is influenced by a number of factors including:
- societal factors (for example, rapid social change)
- community factors (such as poverty)
- relationship factors (for example, friends being involved in violence)
- personal factors (such as alcohol abuse)
There are also a number of “protective factors” that can reduce this risk, such as warm and strong relationships between children their parents/carers. Engagement in violent or risky activities is also reduced where children have well-developed “social competence”, that is they can:
- communicate effectively
- manage relationships
- utilise problem solving skills
- deal with conflict
- empathise with others
The Strengthening Families, Strengthening Communities parent education programme is a community based programme designed to promote protective factors associated with ‘good parenting’ and reduce factors associated with increased risk (such as inconsistent parenting).
SFSC has recently been enhanced with materials focusing on violence. Working with voluntary and statutory health and care partners, we will roll out the programme in three areas across the UK, reaching out and supporting families whose children and young people are at greater risk of experiencing or being involved in violence. Through SFSC parents will be supported to address risk factors and enhance protective factors in order to reduce the impact of violence.