John Carnochan



John Carnochan: The Impact of Covid-19 and the Role Social Inequality Plays in Underpinning Violence

If we are to create a “new normal” post CV-19, our ambitions must be to design and deliver far more than short term, narrow focussed national strategies that have until now succeeded only in exacerbating some of the key drivers of violence, including inequality, depression and addiction.  Instead, we must move beyond merely containing and managing the impacts of these drivers and aspire to developing and delivering sustainable prevention measures deliberately purposed to reduce them.

Serious violence is acknowledged as a key consequence of many of these determinants, its impact infects the health and wellbeing of our communities where the daily stress and fear experienced by individuals and families inhibits their lives and aspirations. Where the lack of hope and feelings of disconnection by many is chronic, divisive and corrosive.

The Youth Violence Commissions Report provides a contemporary, inclusive and evidence based plan specifically purposed to reduce violence. Current evidence supports the assertion that many of the drivers of violence are also significant contributory factors in the poor outcomes across health, education and criminal justice. This common cause across several areas of social challenge provides a key intersection where our collective resources, energies and experience could be focussed to make a real difference and maximise impact. By applying the much lauded and talked about Public Health model we could better ensure effective and efficient use of public resources and public funds by applying the evidence and our experience of what works to develop and deliver appropriate collaborative responses.

The establishment of the 18 (?) Violence Reduction Units around England offers a key structural component to facilitate positive change. The VRUs have already began developing and delivering local collaborative strategies, involving maturing collaborations with all of the agencies, groups and charities who are wrestling daily with the common cause determinants.

This aspiration will not be easy, success will require honest commitment, determined effort and a shared vision to make things better for everyone. The YVC Report together with the VRUs offers a template structure that will allow us to hit the ground running and help make the new normal in Great Britain one to be proud of.

John Carnochan is Co-Founder of the Scottish Violence Reduction Unit