What is serious violence?

Serious violence is the term used to describe violence that causes life-changing harm or death. It includes specific crimes such as homicide, knife crime, and gun crime. It also can include types of criminality that involve serious violence, such as gangs and county lines drug dealing.

In Cornwall, we have agreed that we will focus on the issues that have the most impact in our communities.

The Serious Violence Duty

The Government’s new Serious Violence Duty published here sets out the requirements for every local area to have a dedicated focus and plan for tackling serious violence. The Duty was introduced by the Government as part of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill 2021.

The Duty applies to specific organisations, described as the specified authorities. These organisations are: Devon and Cornwall Police, Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Integrated Care Board, Cornwall Council, the Probation Service, Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Youth Justice Service and Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service.

The specified authorities must work together to publish a strategy and strategic needs assessment which sets out what they are doing to tackle serious violence in their area and to show that they understand what the main issues are.

All of the specified authorities are members of Safer Cornwall so this partnership is the lead on delivering the Duty in Cornwall.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is national-probation-service-600x600-1.jpegThis image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Cornwall_Council_logo_svg-600x551-1-300x276.pngThis image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is DCPoliceLogo-v2.jpeg

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is cios-youth-justice-service.png

What are we doing about it?

Safer Cornwall have set up a multi-agency Serious Violence Prevention Programme Steering Group to co-ordinate and monitor the work that’s being carried out by partners.

In January 2024, Safer Cornwall published our first Strategic Framework to prevent and reduce violence in our communities. The framework brings together existing strategies that target different types of violence. It shows the work that services are doing to address the risk factors of violent behaviours. It also describes what we could do better with a joint approach.

We have also made a commitment to work together with our partners across the Peninsula to address serious violence. This is known as the Serious Violence Prevention Concordat and covers Cornwall and Isles of Scilly, Devon, Torbay and Plymouth. More information about this work can be found here.

Safer Cornwall Serious Violence Strategic Framework

We have also undertaken a local needs assessment that helped us to understand key information about violence in Cornwall.

Safer Cornwall serious violence strategic needs assessment

From this we have prioritised the following types of violence and people and places:

Our priority themes are:

Our priority people and places are:

In October 2023 we launched a new service to support children affected by a parent in prison. The ACTing with Children service is provided by Argyle Community Trust and supported by specialist charity Children Heard and Seen. Referrals to service have come from professionals and also directly from families. So far we have seen one young person who worked with service increase their school attendance by more than 10% in just six weeks. More information can be found here.