The Safety Box Youth Services has been operating for 11 years and is a refined system of youth empowerment, conflict resolution, conflict management combined with confidence building, alternative curriculum and violence interruption, which has been created specifically for children and young adults that are vulnerable to the influences of crime and have served or are serving custodial sentences.
The work was born out of the great need to proactively address the growing threat of anti-social behaviour, bullying, low self-esteem, knife and gun violence, alcohol and drugs misuse, harassment, under-achievement and sexual assault and more serious violent crime amongst youth within society.
The work aims to help youngsters to develop skills in making right choices for their life. Teaching them methods in how to handle themselves better in an environment that is increasingly becoming dangerous, we are driven to help foster a mind of achievement, helping youngsters to break down negative barriers and strive towards success. Most importantly, our mission is to help keep children and young people safe.
In line with the governments aims, The Safety Box working together with schools, colleges, PRU’s, YOTs, Probation, YOI’s, Social Services, partners and youth groups aim to help protect children and young people from harm and aid them in achieving the best in life aligned with their own personal goals.
We recognise that many of the problems associated with young people stem from several sources we therefore work specifically with 7 core components to deliver multi-level intervention, working with:
• Parents / Friends
• Probation / CRC’s
• Communities / Faith Groups
• Public Education and Arts
prison arts program
Our delivery partners, Pulse Creative Academy is an organisation that was formed to inspire the next generation of creative talent and support unemployed young people aged 16-24ys who want to enter the creative industry.
We aim to nurture, equip and empower people from diverse socio-economic and ethnic backgrounds into creativity, training and entrepreneurship.
Pulse Creative Prison Project (PCPP) provides life-changing programs, using creativity as a medium, in prisons and detention centers so that participants are adequately equipped to be successful when they re-enter our communities.
The program has been designed and led by a team of creative professionals who bring together skilled workshops in computer arts, creative branding, creative thinking, marketing and launching a business.
The program is an effective tool to promote positive thinking habits and behaviors in order to help reshape society.
Public Health Approach
Viewing violence through the lens of public health, The Safety Box employs an evidence-based model, proven to reduce violence in different cultural contexts. The Safety Box in partnership with Surviving Our Streetssuccessfully implemented this model for the first time in a UK Prison, this was a slight adaptation from the Cure Violence USA model into a UK YOI where the group violence reduced by 96% in one year.
Research indicates that violence, like other behaviours is acquired or learned – mainly through modelling, observing, imitating or copying. We learn socially from those around us how to act, what to do, and what is expected of us. After the age of 10, these behaviours become unconsciously “regulated” not by family, but by peers.
Social norms, the expectations of an immediate peer group are the greatest indicator to predict how an individual will respond to a given situation, including whether or not they will react violently when “feeling” threatened, insulted, or wronged. Furthermore, the greatest predictors of violent events, regardless of the specific political, religious, social, or economic motivations for violence or how it manifests (tribal conflict, militia warfare, street gangs) - are prior events.
Just as nothing predicts a case of influenza, as exposure to a prior active case of influenza, nothing predicts a violent act as accurately as a preceding violent act – committed against you, someone close to you, or to your group.
By employing a pioneering epidemiological model, the Safety Box model is unique in the approach we take to handling violent behaviours and causing a mindset shift.
Our Violence Interrupters
The Safety Box Violence Interrupters (VIs) are specifically recruited individuals that are identified as credible messengers with those active in serious street/gang related violence. Traditionally but not exclusively they are ex-gang members or individuals with violent offending in their past who are highly respected and listened to by their peers. They will be trusted by and able to build rapport with our client market. Our Violence interrupters employ high-risk conflict mediation techniques to mediate conflict, stop retaliations, pre-empt and stop violent incidents occurring. Once a conflict with the potential to lead to violence or further violence as the case may be has been identified, the Vis will be deployed to mediate/interrupt the conflict. It is worth noting that due to the networks our VIs will have on the ground level it is expected that in many cases they will be the first to know of incidents that could lead to violence as they occur.
The Safety Box Prison Programs
Our prison programs are designed specifically to work within the estate with the most violent offenders and also BME young offenders who exhibit violent behaviour tendencies. seen within HMP & YOI Isis and YOI Cookhamwood all programs have been developed with the following key factors in mind:
- To engage both those actively participating in high-risk activity and those on the periphery (in separate contexts)
- To facilitate the candidates’ ability to view their actions through the eyes of others
- To provide credible skills and techniques to resolve potentially violent conflicts without violence
- To address the shocking realities of “street life” and destroy popular myths and misconceptions
- To facilitate a change in thinking and ultimately behaviour within the estate and outside once released.
The Safety Box believes that the greatest impact is found when the entire community understands the intervention and works in partnership. We therefore propose a multi-level approach working with:
· Staff that have direct interaction with the Young People (YP)
· Managerial Staff
· Young People (YP)
There are four key components to the intervention:
1. Alternative Education
(Conflict Resolution, Enterprise, Black History (Option for BME problems), Enrichment, Financial Management, STEM Education, PSHE, Creative Arts)
2. Officer Training
3. A Quarterly Prison Wide Peace Week
4. YP Violence Interrupter program / Community Response
The Safety Box Founder, Nathaniel Peat speaks on Violence Reduction within the estate at the Youth Justice Convention, December 2015.
- Javed Khan, CEO, Barnardos
- Glenn Knight, Governor, Feltham Young Offenders Institution
- Seamus Oates, Board Member, Youth Justice Board
- Alisa Purton, Young People's Cluster Lead Psychologist, Public Sector Prisons Psychology Services