Merseyside Violence Reduction Partnership believes that early intervention is a wholly effective way of preventing serious violence and other criminality. That involvement can begin before birth and last until adulthood.
The first 1,000 days of child’s life are a crucial period for child development and wellbeing. There is clear evidence that experiences during the early years of life play a unique role in shaping a child’s brain, with long-term consequences for health and wellbeing, as well as educational learning.
We know that children’s development and learning are affected by:
- Influences within themselves, their genetics, temperament, and health
- Influences within the family, relationships, parenting styles and values, financial situation
- Influences by the community, support for parenting, housing, safety and crime in the neighbourhood, unemployment levels.
Ours is a public health approach, and we partner with statutory and voluntary sector organisations in a range of different environments, including children’s centres and prisons.
Nurturing: Altering the course of fathers' lives
A brand-new programme to help prisoners at HMP Altcourse to reconnect with their families has just been released.
The 10-week course held for 60 men within the Family Intervention Unit, will nurture qualities such as empathy and self-awareness and help them become positive parents. Learning will be age appropriate and fit into the needs of those with learning difficulties.
Referencing their own childhood, the scheme invites prisoners to step-back and ask why they have ended up in custody. It questions the behaviours they learned as children, where they may have been asked to supress their emotions and told, “big boys don’t cry”. The course, which is accredited, will imbue participants with confidence and better communications skills. It also signposts their wives and partners to services such as their local Children’s Centre for Early Years support, plus organisations to help them with housing and debt advice.
Nurturing is delivered by Liverpool City Council early years specialist, Ella Sweetin. Said Ella: “The programme runs initially for six months and success will be positive feedback from the participants and being able to see them interacting more positively with their children. We must break the cycle and alter their mindset. Only then, will things change.”
Reading to the bump
Research has shown that reading to baby whilst in the womb familiarises them with their parents’ voice, establishes a routine, stimulates brain activity, and makes for better communicator later in life.
Delivered across all five Merseyside boroughs, “Reading to the Bump” will see practitioners deliver a course in groups or one-to-one and may involve strengthening bonds between parents in prison and their children.
As Dr Zeus wrote in “Oh! The Places You’ll Go” -
Today is your day.
You’re off to Great Places!
You’re off and away!”
Look, Say, Sing, Play
This is a scheme run nationally by the NSPCC and funded in our region by the Merseyside Violence Reduction Partnership.
The first 1,000 days of child’s life are a crucial period for child development and wellbeing and this set of resources encourages interaction between parents and their babies. It also improves attunement and sensitivity of parents from an early stage, setting up positive behaviour as their child grows.
Monkey Bob and Invisible Walls are coming soon
Two new programmes are heading to you in 2022. Aimed at professionals working with child victims of trauma, Monkey Bob aims to reduce the impact of serious violence on 0-5-year-olds.
Invisible Walls meanwhile, works within prisons using practical ways to reconnect those in custody with their families, reduce reoffending plus cut the risk of ‘intergenerational’ offending.