Funding of £500,000 has been awarded to South Yorkshire from the Home Office’s Serious Violence Youth Interventions Fund to deliver a Multisystemic Therapy (MST) programme.

Working with young people aged from 10-years to 17-years, the programme will run in both Doncaster and Rotherham and will break the cycle of anti-social behaviours by keeping young people safely at home, in school, and out of trouble. The programme will involve identifying young people most at risk of being placed into Local Authority Care or at risk of custody.

Multisystemic Therapy (MST) is an intensive family and community-based intervention that targets the multiple causes of anti-social behaviour in young people.

MST adopts a social-ecological approach to understanding problematic behaviours in young people. Viewing the individual as being surrounded by a network of interconnected systems that include the young person themselves, their family as well as their peer group, school and wider neighbourhood.

Parents and caregivers are viewed as the main instigators of change in the young person. The Multisystemic Therapy (MST) programme aims to improve family relationships, encourage more young people to engage positively with education and training and ultimately reduce young people’s offending.

Graham Jones, Head of the South Yorkshire Violence Reduction Unit said: “This is fantastic news to be awarded this funding at a time when everyone needs to be working together to help and support young people.

“The South Yorkshire Violence Reduction Unit have supported this bid from Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council and Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council due the quality of the interventions and the evidence base on how MST works with young people steering them away from crime.”

Dr Alan Billings, South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner said: “We realise increasingly that if we are to reduce crime in society we must do more to help young people keep away from anti-social behaviour and to learn how to respond better to the community in which they live.

“We also realise that young people are surrounded all the time by other people, including their family, who are also key to their becoming mature and responsible adults.

“This therapeutic approach is a proven way of making a significant difference early in people’s lives. I strongly support this project and believe it will have an important and long-lasting impact on the lives of many young people in Doncaster and Rotherham.”

Andy Hood, Head of Doncaster Young People’s Services for Doncaster Children’s Services Trust and lead officer on the bid to the Home Office, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity to support families, where there are issues of exploitation.

“We have seen the benefits of the MST approach in Doncaster. It really improves families’ lives and we look forward to utilising this approach with a more targeted cohort of families”

Minister for Crime and Policing Kit Malthouse said: “Violent crime is a scourge that we are determined to root out across our country – this is what the public expect and deserve.

“We are putting 20,000 new police officers on the streets and are providing over £130m this year to tackle violent crime – including knife crime and murder.

“This includes funding for Violence Reduction Units, which bring together local partners to tackle the drivers of violence in their areas.

“I’m delighted that we have been able to provide the South Yorkshire Violence Reduction Unit with £4.8 million since 2019 to double down on violence in their area – we’ll continue backing our police to protect our streets and communities.”

The funding will allow the programme to run across Doncaster and Rotherham.  Similar interventions are available in Barnsley and Sheffield.