The South Yorkshire Violence Reduction Unit are funding the Mentors in Violence Prevention programme (MVP) available free of charge to secondary schools in South Yorkshire from September.

The Mentors in Violence Prevention programme is a leadership and bystander programme.   The programme is designed to educate schoolteachers, staff and pupils on the bystander model.

A bystander is somebody who sees or knows about a certain situation such as bullying that is happening to someone else.  If a bystander does nothing about the situation, they can be seen as condoning this behaviour.

The programme aims to educate young people so that they can do something to stop the situation and not be a bystander.

Graham Jones, Head of the South Yorkshire Violence Reduction Unit said: “The Mentors in Violence Prevention Programme is aimed at young people from 11-years to 16-years in educational settings.  It is funded by the Violence Reduction Unit, which means that there are no costs at all to the schools.

“The programme is available from September 2021 when the schools return. As young people come out of the lockdown period and face some uncertain futures, there has been no better time to have these discussions and to try to understand their thinking and provide open discussion in making positive choices.

“The South Yorkshire Violence Reduction Unit are taking a public health approach to preventing violence and the Mentors in Violence Prevention is one way of engaging with our young people at a time when it is extremely important to do so.”

The programme includes three digital sessions for any South Yorkshire school. It will also include lesson plans and scenarios around domestic abuse, bullying, harassment, sexual violence, weapons carrying, Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) and different forms of hate crime.

US Educator Dr Jackson Katz developed the programme in the United States and Graham Goulden delivers it in South Yorkshire from Cultivating Minds UK.  Graham was a police officer in Scotland for 30 years before becoming part of the Scottish Violence Reduction Unit.

Dr Alan Billings, South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner said: “I have been to Glasgow and seen young people acting as mentors to their peers, teaching them how to be more proactive in stopping others being bullied or harassed.

“There is no doubt that young people are more likely to take notice of other young people and so this programme is one important way in which we can train them to be mentors to their fellow students.

“If we are to reduce violence in all its forms in our society, the younger we can help people to understand how damaging bullying and harassment can be, the better.

“At a time when school budgets are stretched I am pleased we can offer this programme at no cost to schools.”

If you would like more information on the Mentors in Violence Prevention Programme please see here –