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.
  • This session seeks to keep young people safe on-line, whilst demonstrating what happens online can hurt them offline.
  • It explores how digital technology has changed the way in which young people communicate.
  • It signposts to support services that can assist victims of cyber bullying and provides advice on social media safety to help improve on-line resilience.
Learning objectives:
  • Increase students understanding of the positives and negatives of social media.
  • Highlight the concept of exposing others on-line and identify how offline activity that could be coercive or even criminal can be linked to the threat of being exposed.
  • Identify the capacity for material to go viral across multiple platforms and how you lose control once sent.
  • Identify what a screen munch is and why it is not a legally binding agreement and can be used to blackmail others.
  • Identify the potential consequences for those who distribute indecent photos of children or expose others on-line.
  • Identify who can help and what they can do to support victims of in-line exploitation.
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
Knife Crime (Further Education / College Students)
This 90-minute session critically explores knife crime from the perspective of young adults in Further Education settings. Discussions raise awareness as to the causation and impact of the growing knife crime epidemic. Students explore why people stab: whether this be through fear, for financial gain, for protection, through criminal exploitation by gangs, as a result of the drug supply or for retaliation.
This session makes it clear that a wide range of people are affected by knife crime and how it devastates the lives of young people, their families and the professionals who work with
young people. 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, including the impact it has on victim’s mental health.
The session looks as the role of social, print and digital media in serious youth violence. It also explores the legal doctrine of ‘Joint Enterprise’ to highlight young people’s vulnerability
to being prosecuted and convicted due to the actions of others they associate with.
  • This session seeks to educate young adults as to the impact of knife crime and why it occurs, to empower them to reject a growing ‘knife culture’.
  • It seeks to reduce young people’s vulnerability to being a victim or perpetrator of knife crime by educating on the doctrine of Joint Enterprise and debunking commonly held myths that there are safe places to stab.
  • To provide a safe place for young adults vulnerable to peer-on-peer victimisation to make disclosures to GAV facilitators or faculty staff.
Learning objective:
  • Raise awareness about the causation and effects of the growing knife epidemic.
  • Explore the relationship young people have with their surroundings and how they perceive the knife crime epidemic in the UK.
  • De-myth commonly held belief that there are safe places in a person’s body to stab someone.
  • Students to consider the consequences of associating with people who they know to be violent and involved in conflict through educating young people on the legal doctrine of Joint Enterprise
  • Students to identify the three main ingredients that can lead to the prosecution of the main offence on a third party (knowledge, presence & actions).
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.
  • To educate parents, carers and family members as to how gangs work; focusing on how gangs recruit, groom and exploit children.
  • It raises awareness of the role of girls within gang culture and how they are particularly vulnerable to exploitation.
  • It raises awareness of how gangs promote and brand themselves on social media and the risks social media poses to all young people.
Learning objectives:
  • Identify the risk factors that may indicate a young person is involved in gangs and gang culture.
  • Identify why a young person wishes to join a gang and the ‘pull and push’ factors of gang association
  • To understand the issues, roles and risks of girls involved in gang culture
  • To raise awareness of the potential risks and impact of using social media platforms and why gang association significantly increases vulnerability.
  • To highlight referral pathways for young people affected by gang association and increase knowledge of the available support organisations that exist.
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 looks at how gangs are structured, looking at
the power dynamics between ‘elders’ and ‘youngers’ and the many contradictions that exist within this exploitative relationship. The impact of gang dynamics within the school setting
is explored, emphasising how gang promotion is often earnt through violence and drug dealing.
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. It highlights that those vulnerable to ‘gang culture’ are far higher in number than those who are truly ‘gang involved’.
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.
  • This session helps professionals understand ‘How Gangs Work’ and draws on the research of leading criminologists who have developed the GAV curriculum.
  • It helps professionals understand how ‘Gang Culture’ influences and adversely affects young people and outlines the interconnectivity between gang recruitment, grime ‘rap-trap’ videos, county lines, drug mules, gang associated sexual violence and peer on peer child sexual exploitation.
  • It supports practitioners who work with young people to more effectively deal with
    violence within existing safeguarding frameworks
Learning objective:
  • To provide an overview of the GAV curriculum delivered in educational settings and the evidence base that underpins the curriculum.
  • It explores how gangs are structured, how they recruit and what gangs look for in those who join. It also outlines possible indicators of gang membership.
  • It examines why people want to join gangs and both the mythology and reality of gang membership. It highlights why violence is integral to the gang per se.
  • It looks at how gang members operate within the school setting and how progression within gangs is often linked to drug dealing and involvement in ‘county lines’
  • It identifies how gangs use social media and ‘rap-trap’ music videos to brand, taunt, control, coerce and expand.
Please contact us on to learn more.