True Vision

films that make a difference

How Scotland Cut Violent Crime

How Scotland Cut Violent Crime
Back to ‘Our Films’
29 minutes
Sunnah Khan
Erica Jenkin
Executive Producer:
Brian woods and Diana Martin

In the past couple of decades Scotland has undergone a transformation. From a country that was home to ‘the murder capital of Europe’, the past few years have seen a decrease in violent crime that has been seen by some as nothing short of miraculous.  In this film, Kate Silverton investigates the work of the violence reduction unit, and the ‘public health approach’ that transformed a nation.

At Ninewells hospital in Dundee, Kate witnesses the work of the Navigators: a team that visits emergency rooms, speaking to victims of violent crime, and offering them a way out of the cycle that they are frequently trapped in. While not all take the Navigators up on their offer, the organisation is committed to trying to stop the cycle of revenge and retribution that is a large contributor to violent crime in the city. 

In HMP & YOI Polmont, ex-offender Callum is speaking to the young residents of the institution. The session is part of a course that targets youth offenders, with a view to stopping them from reoffending when they return to their life outside. In a similar vein is the work of the VOW Project. Kate joins ex-con Kevin and Police Officer Lyndsay as they help a recent former inmate of Polmont adjust to life outside prison, and try to stop him falling into old habits.

Kate also visits the Drumchapel secondary school, where they are operating under a no-exclusion policy. The teaching style here is drastically different to England, where ‘problem’ children are treated with compassion and extra attention, rather than discipline. The hope is that by nurturing these children in the classroom, they will be less inclined to fall into violent ways out on the streets.

Finally Kate visits Oakwood Primary School, built on the site of former gang battles. The school has transformed an area that was once a hotspot of violent gang crime. Here now, parents who used to be in rival gangs wait in the same playground to pick up their kids, their old hostilities forgotten. And in the school, the children are being taught how to deal with conflict in a non-violent way.

Kate Silverton on Jeremy Vine Show

Kate Silverton on Mariella Frostrup Show

Talk Radio with Dan Wooton – Live interview with Kate

For Help and Support

For more information about the Scottish Violence Reduction Unit (SVRU) and the projects they run, including the Navigators:

The Navigators programme is operational in A&E's across Scotland and aims to stop the cycle of violence in hospitals. It is run by the SVRU in conjunction with Medics Against Violence

The VOW project is run in Edinburgh in conjunction with Aid and Abet, a peer led organisation who offer support service for people on their release from prison:

If you are based in Edinburgh and you, or someone you know may benefit from working with the VOW, they can be contacted on:    / Tel: 0131 221 2102