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We believe that all communities across Merseyside have the right to be free from violence in order to provide the best life chances for all.

Community Engagement


1. Enabling Young People of Merseyside to be a part of the nation’s largest youth-led research project into Youth Violence

The VRP are delighted to be partnered with YPAS, Merseyside Youth Association, Liverpool Targeted Services for Young People, Child Friendly Cities, LFC Foundation, Liverpool Children’s Safeguarding Partnership (Young Advisors) to establish a network of 12 peer-researchers, reaching at least 480 children and young people to enable 150 young ‘changemakers’ to direct social change to reduce serious violence. This project, a joint investment from YEF, Co-Op and #iWill, will reach out to children and young people who experience violence across Merseyside to make sure their voices are heard and that they are given the opportunity to shape the solutions and lead change. What is more, is that the children and young people of Merseyside will be given a platform to have their voices heard on a national stage.

If you work with children and young people in Merseyside who have experienced violence or adversity associated with violence, please contact us and we will support you to access this opportunity.

2. VRP Peer-Research Report 2020-21

In 2020-21, the VRP commissioned an executive group of young researchers aged 16-25 from 3 formalised youth engagement groups: Wirral Youth Voice Group, Sefton and Liverpool Young Advisors. This research group was asked to find out what young people in Merseyside think about current issues relating to violence and what solutions they think will work to prevent young people from being involved in violence and crime. The attached report is a summary of some of the key findings from the research.

If any partners have an interest in the research reports from each area involved, please contact us.

Read the report here


You said, We did.

Read the full report here


For our latest research with young people on mental health, photographs of weapons hauls and the impact of COVID, go here

The views of parents and carers on these issues are explored here

3. Online engagement during the pandemic

In November 2020, the VRP launched an online platform called Dialogue to enable the crowdsourcing of ideas from communities and young people, so that the VRP can support residents to turn these ideas into action.

“Our first Dialogue in November 2020, provided the opportunity for the people of Merseyside to share their thoughts and feelings around staying safe where they live. Going forward, we aim to use Dialogue to kickstart other topical conversations and enable a safe online space for people to tell us and others what is important to them. We hope this will prove a valuable resource for community partners to enable an interactive exchange of ideas and feedback, which will create a direct link between residents and policy/decision makers.” Susan Cowell, Merseyside VRP’s Youth and Community Engagement lead.

We have seen how the pandemic has galvanised social action around issues of food poverty and social isolation. However, we have also heard from young people who feel excluded from decision-making about services and support available to help them achieve their aspirations in this difficult time. Dialogue is one of many methods which can help the VRP to better engage young people’s voices about what sort of support is needed – and where. By listening, the VRP can act early to provide the most appropriate support to prevent exposure to adversity and trauma and increase local opportunities for this and the next generation.

See what our residents said mattered most to them in ‘Previous Challenges’

Click here to watch our video

Read our press release…

Get in touch if you’d like to discuss how you can use Dialogue with the young people you work with to enhance their voice in your own support.

4. Local Perceptions on Causes of Violence

What do young people, families and practitioners say about the risks associated with serious violence in Merseyside?

Working in collaboration with partner organisations from across Merseyside, the VRP have collated an insight report from 2020-2021 presenting how some of the causes of serious violence are perceived in our communities.


Read the executive summary here 

Read the full report here


We will be using this insight as a baseline from which we hope to measure changes in perceptions over time. We also hope to build upon this insight, delving more into potential causal not yet covered by the 2020-2021 report.


If you are an organisation working with young people, families or a community in Merseyside who have something to say about any of the causes outlined or would like to be part of designing solutions to challenging the culture of violence, please contact us. 

Our top priorities are to…

  • Ensure that the VRP is capturing and sharing best practice in the community and through young people’s participation.
  • Ensure that young people are given authentic and meaningful opportunities to engage and be agents of change.
  • Strive for the adoption of the principles of the rights of the child across the partnership.
  • Ensure that young people and Merseyside residents are central to the narrative of the VRP and violence reduction initiatives.

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