Growing Against Violence provides evidence-based public health and public safety education and training for children and young people in schools and since 2008 we have reached nearly 180,000 young people across 700 schools in London and beyond.
GAV delivers primarily to 9- to 15-year-old students, who are at the ‘reachable moment’ before secondary interventions are required.  Our programmes provide dynamic life skills and violence resistance education and training to support safe and enabling school environments.
Universal delivery to all students in a single year group helps to develop ‘herd’ resistance and the positive peer pressure needed to reject violence and the negative norms and values associated with it.
We have also developed programmes for parents and professionals as a way of broadening our reach to young people.
This primary prevention initiative has four key goals:
  • To reduce the appeal of violence amongst young people
  • To improve confidence of young people in police
  • To provide a safe space for young people to disclose violent victimisation
  • To be the information hub on violence (for schools, young people, professionals, parents and communities).
Programmes for young people
So Social Media
190 minutes, year 5/6
This lesson explores how digital technology has changed the way people communicate and the relationship young people have with social media and why phones/tablets are so integral to young people’s lives. The session considers the students use of social media in a more in depth way, using critical thinking and consideration in their online decision-making. Students examine the dangers of communicating with people who pretend to be someone else online and how young people can remain safe online.
Online privacy is challenging, over sharing information about yourself with the wrong people can lead to issues. We highlight the concept of exposing others online and how offline activity that could be coercive or even criminal can be linked to the threat of being exposed.
Sensitive issues relating to social media, grooming, cyber bullying, gaming and inappropriate images are examined and young people are made aware of the law surrounding these issues and are empowered to report abuse if they encounter it.
At the end of this session students will have increased awareness about:
  • What happens online can hurt them offline and develop resilience online and learn where to get support.
  • Identify the capacity for material to go viral across multiple platforms and how you lose control once sent.
  • Exposing others on line and how offline activity could be coercive or even criminal
  • How they can keep themselves safe on-line.
  • How to identify who can help and what they can do to support victims.
Friends s Friendly
100 minutes for year 6 pupils
This programme teaches year 6 school children about the exploitative nature of gangs dispelling the myths that gangs are conventional friendship groups that provide people with protection.
Our facilitators help young people create positive peer pressure to reject gang culture whilst providing all with basic personal safety advice.
This programme helps students understand how gangs recruit members and subsequently be more likely to:
  • Recognise the difference between friendship and friendly
  • Understand that gangs are not conventional friendship groups and that they exploit young people
  • Identify strategies for keeping themselves safe and avoid becoming gang involved.
Myths & Realities
100 minutes for year 7 & 8 pupils
This session is designed to identify and challenge the main ‘pull factors’ that drive gang recruitment so that young people are better placed to make informed decisions as to whether they themselves will become gang involved.
The session looks at the exploitative nature of gangs in order to dispel gang ‘mythology’.  This is important as it helps to undermine the reputations of gangs and gang members so that the vast majority of young people can collectively reject gang culture in order to create positive peer pressure.
This session also seeks to increase confidence of young people in Police.
After this programme students will:
  • Understand the consequences of gangs for individuals within gangs, for their families and for the wider community
  • Be able to identify/ define what a gang is and how it is distinct from a peer group
  • Critically examine the reasons why people join gangs and separate some of the myths from the realities of life in a gang.
Weapons, Choices & Consequences
100 minutes for year 7 & 8 pupils
This session is designed to help young people understand how gang membership is correlated with becoming a perpetrator or victim of knife crime and why weapons intended to protect are liable to endanger.  The session looks at the choices young people make when carrying and using a knife and how gang membership significantly reduces the freedom you have to say no. it also looks at the consequences of non-fatal knife injuries and the broader impact of fatal injuries to those close to the victim.
At the end of this session students will be able to:
  • Identify why gang members are more likely to be a victim of knife crime and why they are also more likely to carry and use knives
  • Recognise why carrying a knife does not offer protection or respect
  • Recognise the consequences of stabbing someone and understand that there is no safe place to stab someone
  • Understand the doctrine of joint enterprise.
Stop & Search
100 minutes for year 8 & 9 pupils
The aim of this programme is to improve the confidence of young people in the effective use of stop and search as a tool to keep them safe.  This helps relationships between the police and young people and helps prevent distrust and unnecessary conflict.
Students who attend this programme will:
  • Understand their rights and responsibilities in a stop and search scenario
  • Identify the consequences of young people and police of negatively stereotyping each other
  • Understand profiling and intelligence-led stops.
Anti-Social Media
100 minutes for year 8, 9 & 10 pupils
The aim of this programme is to reduce peer-on-peer bullying and understand their role in sexting, grooming and how to get support.
At the end of this session students should have a greater understanding of what happens online can hurt them off-line. During this session they will explore:
  • The relationship young people have with their phones and ascertain why phones are so integral to young people’s lives
  • Identify the large number of social media platforms that co-exist
  • Identify the positives and negatives of social media use
  • Consider how males and females can be inaccurately portrayed in on line music videos.
It’s not just Girls, Gangs & Consequences
100 minutes for year 10 pupils
The aim of this programme is to educate students about rape and raise their awareness about what it means to give and receive consent for sexual activities. It also examines the impact of social media on sexual behaviour and exploitation.
At the end of this session students should have a greater understanding of:
  • What consent really means
  • How to manage boundaries and deflect unwanted attention or sexual harassment
  • How to make a reasoned and informed decision
  • Identifying and managing healthy relationships
  • Where and how to get help
Parent & Family Session
This 90-minute session seeks to educate and inform parents about gangs and the GAV programme. Parents are given an overview of the academic curriculum and receive an academic and police perspective on gangs and serious youth violence, including the “push” and “pull” factors that account for gang association. Parents are made aware of the warning signs of gang membership and advised on appropriate interventions. Gang recruitment processes and the roles and risks to girls involved in gang culture are identified. The session celebrates the fact that the vast majority of young people lead positive lives, but also promotes active parental engagement, boundary setting, and the importance of collaboration and communication between families, schools and communities to end gang and serious youth violence.
Professional Session
This 180-minute session seeks to educate professionals about ‘how gangs work’ and how gang culture influences and adversely affects young people. The aim is to identify what gangs are and how they differ from peer groups. Delivered by highly experienced facilitators, the session examines how they are organized, how they make money, and how they recruit. It identifies how violence is used by gangs and gang members and establishes how gangs and gang members ‘brand’ themselves both on-line and off-line, exploring ‘rap-trap’ videos and the growing concerns relating to ‘county lines’ drug dealing. Often delivered to large multi-agency audiences, the professional session supports practitioners who work with young people to more effectively deal with violence within existing safeguarding frameworks.
Knife Crime (FE/College Students)
This 90-minute session examines the facts around knife crime, the problems that create knife crime, gang involvement in knife crime, county lines and the impact that serious youth violence can have on mental health. Discussions will raise awareness about the causation and effects of the growing knife crime epidemic and how they can take positive steps to avoid the circumstances, which contribute towards knife violence and know where to seek help if needed. Students explore why people stab people; fear, money, digital collateral, protection, criminal exploitation through gangs and the sale of drugs. This session makes it clear that a wide range of people are affected by knife crime and devastates the lives of young people. Knife crime also hurts people who are not always immediately considered. Police Officers, School Teachers/Lecturers and Health Care Professionals are often exposed to high levels of trauma as a result of knife crime. Students should also consider the roles of social, print and digital media in occurrences of serious youth violence. Students will hear a real-life testimony of a gang member speaking candidly about the perils of the lifestyle and the horror of being stabbed.
At the end of this session students will be able to:
  • Understand and avoid the circumstances, which contribute toward knife violence and know where and how to seek help if needed
  • Identify why GAV has been invited to speak with them about Knife Crime today, and whether they have been offered similar interventions before.
  • Explore the relationship young people have with their surroundings and how they perceive the knife crime epidemic in the UK.
  • Identify contributory factors to the rise in knife crime.
  • Identify societal effects of knife crime within communities.
  • Identify why stabbing someone in the leg can result in a person dying.


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