Catch22's Dawes Unit brings together research, policy and practice in order to understand how to reduce the harm caused by gangs and gang-related crime. We work with individuals, families, schools and communities in a joined-up approach that aims to reduce gang-involvement and its effect on local areas.
Policy and research
The Unit’s programme of research addresses the serious concerns about the problems caused by gangs, and how best to prevent gang involvement and to support those looking to exit. Our policy and research is shaped by practical experience, while our practice takes account of research findings.
Wolverhampton pilot community gangs programme
Our pilot gangs programme in Wolverhampton aims to put into practice an 'end to end' approach, whereby young people and their families are supported through all the key points of risk in their lives, including points at which they are ready to make changes.
Our work adheres to a set of guiding principles:
- Context matters: issues in relation to gangs and serious youth violence are different in every location. All services need to be specific to the location in which they are delivered - ie what works in Nottingham will not necessarily respond to needs in Wolverhampton.
- The importance of relationships to foster a sense of belonging: we know that those young people who do not have strong ties to family, school or community are most at risk of using gangs to provide that sense of belonging. At the heart of the Dawes Unit are strong relationships between Catch22 staff and the young people we work with, to create belonging and tackle alienation
- ‘Working with’ not ‘doing to’: solutions cannot be imposed on young people or communities; we are more likely to succeed if we work together towards a solution. This means engaging young people in developing services and working with communities to tackle a sense of inevitability.
- The need to offer real ways out: we need to offer real alternatives to gang membership for young people. This means developing real pathways to gain an income and supporting people to maintain this.
Using evidence: the Dawes Unit aims to create a sustainable model for tackling gang and youth violence. This means that every intervention we develop is based on the existing evidence in order to ensure the best chance of success. Our work is being evaluated by Sheffield Hallam Centre for Community Justice and we will use the information generated to continuously refine our model.
Follow us: @DawesUnit