I am a student at Sheffield Hallam University studying Psychology. One of the areas of Psychology I find most interesting is crime, and understanding why people choose to commit crimes. During my studies, I was invited to do a placement with the VRU. When I first heard of the VRU I had no clue about the scope of their work. But over the course of two short months, I was shown just how much work the VRU is doing to prevent and reduce violence in South Yorkshire.

A prominent issue is Violence Against Women and Girls. On my placement with the VRU, I got to see first-hand how this was being tackled. I also read a scoping report which highlighted who the most vulnerable women and girls are, and what further actions could be taken to tackle violence against them.

Another key issue is knife crime. During my placement, I saw how the VRU worked in partnership with the charity Always An Alternative, as the charity put on an exhibition at Sheffield Cathedral. This displayed pieces of art to show the effects of knife crime, which had been put together by children from local secondary schools.

At the time of writing, Always An Alternative is holding an exhibition at Sheffield Town Hall called Victims’ Voices, to highlight how knife crime affects the families of victims.

I also saw how the VRU tackled more local issues, namely working with the Sharrow Community Forum to install more lights in Mount Pleasant Park. The VRU also has input on other projects around the park, such as the new community hub which the Community Forum aims to install.

I also accompanied the VRU on a visit to Roundabout, a homeless charity working in Sheffield which aims to help homeless people by giving them homes to live in, working through various issues, and working with them to regain their independence.

Overall, I saw how the VRU uses evidence to apply funding, and works with organisations to help solve social issues and prevent and reduce violence.