Our Approach

The Avon and Somerset Violence Reduction Partnership takes a public health and trauma informed approach to reducing violence and tackling disproportionality.

Public HealthApproach

The Avon and Somerset VRPs operate with a public health approach to violence reduction, focusing on understanding the causes of violence, and the reasons why people get drawn into a life of crime.

The public health England approach to violence prevention

report states that “violence is not something that just happens, nor is it normal or acceptable in our society. Many of the key risk factors that make individuals, families, or communities vulnerable to violence are changeable, including exposure to adverse experiences in childhood and subsequently the environments in which individuals live, learn and work throughout youth, adulthood, and older age. Understanding these factors means we can develop and adopt new public health-based approaches to violence. Such approaches focus on the primary prevention of violence through reducing risk factors and promoting protective factors over the life course.”

Trauma InformedApproach

Adversity and trauma can have a considerable impact on a person’s life, both when it occurs and throughout their lifespan.

In June 2020, in response to Covid-19, the Bristol, North Somerset, and South Gloucestershire (BNSSG) Trauma Informed working group was established. The BNSSG Trauma Informed System, Knowledge and Skills Framework form the basis for a system wide approach to provide a consistent approach in supporting staff to recognise adversity and trauma, to create a trauma-reducing way of working.

The BNSSG Trauma Informed System, Knowledge and Skills Framework is available here

Representation includes:

  • Academia
    e.g., University of West of England and University of Bristol
  • Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG)
  • Lived experience experts
  • Local authorities
  • Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC)
  • Police
  • Primary care
  • Provider organisations e.g., Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust (AWP)
  • VCSE organisations e.g. Second Step

Trauma Informed Systems Manager

A Trauma Informed Systems Manager has now been appointed to drive forward this area of work and lead on the BNSSG Trauma Informed Systems Programme. This post will work across the system with:

  • Criminal justice (including Police),
  • Education,
  • Health,
  • Social care,
  • Voluntary sector organisations.

The Trauma Informed Systems Manager will promote a system-wide commitment to Trauma Informed Practice, including Trauma Informed Commissioning. They will also draw on good practice examples and existing working relationships from within Bath and North East Somerset (B&NES) and Somerset.

Trauma Informed Somerset

A Somerset steering group are working towards a ‘Trauma Informed Somerset’, to meet the below objectives:

  • Develop a common set of principles/goals with shared language.
  • Strive for a sustainable consistent and joined up training offer with support to sustain and embed the learning.
  • Develop a better system understanding of the impact of wider determinants of health resulting from Adverse Childhood Experences (ACE’s) and trauma experiences.
  • Conduct further research into best practice and evidence-based interventions and agree common practice standards for trauma informed services in Somerset at various levels of intervention.

An Avon and Somerset Police steering group has been formed to enable the police to be a trauma informed organisation. The group is chaired by the Chief Constable, Sarah Crew, supported by the Office of Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) and the VRPs strategic work. The group will focus on the internal wellbeing of police staff and the external ways to improve their service to Avon and Somerset communities.


We understand that our most deprived areas across Avon and Somerset have limited opportunities and positive life outcomes, which in turn increases the risk of serious violence harm. Certain communities and demographics are also disproportionately impacted by serious violence. We are working collaboratively with partners to build sustainable safe spaces and opportunities for these communities, the whole family, children and young people. 

The Serious Violence Reduction Partnership Board (SVRPB) hold a number of responsibilities, including: Leading cultural and organisation change, which drives commitment and a shift towards early intervention and prevention, as well as developing organisational practice and thinking, such as trauma informed approaches, tackling disproportionality and collaborative commissioning.