Serious violence

Understanding serious violence

Our definition of serious violence is guided by the London Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) definition of violence. The legislation provides that, for the purposes of the Serious Violence Duty, serious violence includes domestic abuse, sexual offences, violence against property and threats of violence but does not include terrorism. 
Our agreed definition of serious violence is: 

Any violence including domestic abuse, sexual violence, knife enabled crime and gun enabled crime. Within the context of these types of violence, it encompasses homicide, grievous bodily harm, actual bodily harm, rape, assault by penetration, sexual assault, personal robbery, threats to kill and violence against property caused during the commission of one of these offences. With a specific focus on violence and exploitation affecting young people under the age of 25. 

(Domestic Abuse Act 2021)

The reason that we decided to include all ages within the borough definition is because our data supports that serious harm and violence affects all ages within the borough.

Serious Violence Duty

On 31 January 2023 the Serious Violence Duty commenced under the Police Crime Sentencing and Courts Act 2022 (PCSCA 2022). This includes statutory requirements in relation to the response to and prevention of serious violence.

The Duty emphasises the importance of understanding the drivers and impacts of serious violence, and a focus on prevention and early intervention.

It was introduced in the context of an increase in violence over the last decade and the impacts this has on victims and their families.

Duty holders include:

  • Local authorities
  • Metropolitan Police
  • Youth Offending Teams
  • Integrated Care System
  • Probation
  • London Fire Brigade

Due to the national focus, the London’s Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) is leading on the coordination and delivery of the duty across the 32 London boroughs. The VRU have outlined the statutory actions needed to meet the requirements of the Duty. These statutory actions include the creation of the Violence Strategic Needs Assessment and the Violence Strategic Delivery Plan. 
Statutory actions must be reported on and submitted to the VRU by 31 January 2024. 

Serious Violence Needs Assessment 

The Violence Strategic Needs Assessment includes analysis of data from various sources.

Most of the results from the data and analysis do not tell us anything new which is positive as we already have work in place targeted in the areas or times of day. 

Partners who have engaged with the needs assessment:

  • Metropolitan Police
  • Childrens Services 
  • Adult Social Care 
  • Public Health England - Substance Misuse
  • Probation Services
  • London Ambulance Service 
  • Accident & Emergency
  • British Transport Police 
  • NHS – St. George’s Hospital  

The full Violence Strategic Needs Assessment will not be published on our website due to the amount of sensitive data it contains. However, the needs assessment has contributed to the Violence Reduction Action Plan and will be used to direct future funding and resources over the next year.  

Violence Reduction Action Plan

The London VRU have provided a Strategic Delivery Plan template which we have worked with partners to complete.
The mandatory actions provided by the VRU are split into 8 main themes. 

  1.  Governance
  2. Analysis and enforcement
  3. Reducing access to weapons
  4. Safeguarding and educating children and young people
  5. Working with communities and neighbourhoods to reduce violence
  6. Supporting victims of violence and vulnerability
  7. Positive diversion from violven
  8. Tackling violence against women and girls

Section 8 is a new theme, bringing Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) into the definition. We have met this action by completing our own VAWG needs assessment and VAWG Strategy which will be overseen by the Strategic VAWG delivery board.

We did not complete a Serious Violence Strategy as we agreed with MOPAC that this will be part of the Community Safety Partnership Strategy 2024-27 which will be published later in the year.

We have published the required actions tab of the Violence Reduction Action Plan.

What we are doing

Service provisions for serious violence.

Wandsworth Bereavement Service 

The Community Safety Service are commissioning  the Wandsworth Bereavement Service to deliver a three-tier therapeutic support service to those in the community bereaved or directly impacted by the trauma of violence and impact of violent crime. Learnings from previous critical incidents in the borough highlighted a gap in the immediate therapeutic support available to those impacted by violent crime. Therefore, the offer of this service will be incorporated into the response to critical incidents across the borough.

This is a 12 month pilot until 31 March 2025.

Wandsworth Communities Against Violence Forum 

The Wandsworth Communities Against Violence Forum is a community facing forum, working with the wider Wandsworth CSP on violence.  

The role of the Wandsworth Communities Against Violence Forum is to provide a platform for community members and organisations addressing violent crime to come together and discuss issues and solutions around services, projects, and response to violent crimes in the borough.  

The MPS and Local Authority have standing agenda items to provide updates. The Wandsworth Communities Against Violence Forum is administrated by the Community Safety Service (serving both Richmond and Wandsworth) and chaired by a democratically elected community representative. 

Hyper Local Capacity Building Project Work (via Wandsworth Communities Against Violence Forum) 

Funding for hyper local projects is provided to community organisations and statutory partners to deliver on the aim of community capacity building with a view to prevent, reduce and respond to violence. The funding is made available through the Community Safety Service via the Wandsworth Communities Against Violence Forum. The project pot which can be accessed by interested community groups, organisations or statutory partners delivering projects in partnership with the community is funded through the VRUs Community Capacity Building Grant.

Pathways 2 Progression (P2P) 

This project is delivered in the community and at HMP Wandsworth and aims to:

  • Reduce anti-social, harmful, and offending behaviour among individuals 18 to 35, economically inactive, at risk of custody, and serious violence. 
  • Reduce the risk of conflict, serious further offense, and economic inactivity among service users aged 18 to 35 in custody, e.g., HMP Wandsworth.  

P2P Community-Based Intervention Programme: referral-based provision taking referrals from strategic partners, e.g., Probation, Youth Justice, IOM, SW BCU Gangs Team, HMP Wandsworth, Self-referrals, MARVE Panel and Wandsworth Violence Community Forum members.  

  • Providing weekly physical or virtually holistic 1-to-1 coaching to achieve personal and professional goals, outreach/detached work in targeted hot-spot locations twice a week, personal and social development, and conflict mediation skills (S.E.E.D.) group sessions twice a week. 

P2P Prison-Based Intervention Programme: referral-based provision taking referrals from strategic partners, e.g. Probation, Youth Justice, IOM, SW BCU Gangs Team, HMP Wandsworth, Self-referrals and MARVE Panel.

  • Providing physical or virtual personal and social development and conflict mediation skills (S.E.E.D.) group sessions twice a week, 1-to-1 coaching to achieve personal and professional goals twice a week, and weekly through-the-gate support upon release. 

Fearless campaign 

Fearless is the youth brand of Crimestoppers and is aimed at educating and empowering young people aged 11-17 years old to use the anonymous reporting service. Fearless also work with young people and partners including schools, youth groups, and PRUs to deliver workshops to young people. 

The aims of the campaign are to make a positive impact on young peoples’ lives by working collaboratively with the local authorities and partners to raise awareness of crimes and the consequences of crime and criminal activity. 

The campaign also aims to deliver information sessions to youth professionals from different sectors in the borough to spread the Fearless message to the young people they work with. 

The campaign has been altered for the specific needs of the Wandsworth borough. 

MARVE Plus Bespoke Support 

The VRU Community Capacity Building Grant funds a pot of money which is ring-fenced to provide bespoke support to those who are open to the MARVE Plus panel (18-25 years of age). This includes positive diversionary activities for individuals who are at risk of or are involved in violence and exploitation. 

Wandsworth Youth Bus 

The VRU Community Capacity Building Grant funds a part of the Wandsworth Youth Bus run by Children Service. This visits locations across the borough and engages with young people.

Knife amnesty bins 

Two knife amnesty bins are to be installed in the Wandsworth borough as a two-year pilot project. The bins will allow for individuals to dispose of knives and other weapons in a safe and confidential way. 

The locations of the bins have been determined based on areas of greatest need based on violent incidents, as well as areas which are appropriate for the placement of a knife amnesty bin, considering all of the necessary factors for installation. 

Community Safety Service Provisions –Neighbourhoods 
Wandsworth has six Community Safety Officers (CSO) who deliver targeted interventions in areas subjected to crime and anti-social behaviour (ASB) and increase engagement with communities and victims of crime. 

Wandsworth Community Multi Agency Risk Assessment Conference (CMARAC) 

CMARAC is a monthly multi-agency meeting where information is shared on complex/ high risk cases involving vulnerable victims/perpetrators of anti-social behaviour.  
All relevant information is shared about victims, witnesses and perpetrators in order to inform a collective assessment of risks. The panel will develop and action plan to address problematic behaviour and agree on an effective safety planning strategy to manage the overall risk to the victim, perpetrator or community. 
Some of these cases, may have a history or a violence indicator and this is managed through the lead agency who presents to the case panel. 

Area based problem solving plans  

Problem solving plans are developed as part of a multi-agency response to emerging, or current hotspots. Community Safety Officers coordinate problem solving plans through task and finish groups in which the relevant agencies share information, identify issues and set/monitor actions. 

Domestic abuse provision

Visit our Violence Against Women and Girls pages to find out about our current provision to prevent and reduce domestic abuse.

Reporting a crime

Always call 999 if there is a crime in action or immediate threat to life. If you're deaf or hard of hearing, use the textphone service 18000 or text 999 if you’ve pre-registered with the emergency SMS service.

Met Police

You can also report crimes to the Metropolitan Police online or phone 101 at any time to report an incident. If you're deaf or hard of hearing, use the textphone service on 18001 101.


Should you wish to remain anonymous you can contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Useful resources

Victim Support

Victim Support can help immediately after an incident or any time after the crime has taken place. They will listen to you in confidence and offer information, practical help, and emotional support; they are also able to help you to navigate the criminal justice system and make a compensation claim, if you choose to report the crime.

Victim Support have specially trained staff and volunteers. They can help you to cope with the emotional effects of hate crime, support you and other members of your family for as long as you need and give you advice on safety and home security. They also provide help on getting in touch with other organisations and help you to deal with other agencies.

For more information about what services the Victim Support team in South London can offer you contact them:


Abianda is a social enterprise that works with young women and girls affected by criminal exploitation and violence and provides training for the professionals who work with them.

Telephone: 020 7686 0520