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“Hardly anyone can ever find God because God is right at the end of your mind after all the background thoughts are gone.”
Maisie Satchwell-Hust
Minus Violence Plus Peace

The aim of Minus Violence Plus Peace (-V+P) is to improve resilience amongst young people placed at risk or involved in life-threatening behaviour involving knives. Working in targeted hot spot knife crime areas of Birmingham, -V+P works within secondary schools, to start creating narratives of peace.


Our approach is to focus on listening to young people’s experience, looking at what underlies violence and fostering a peace building response in young people. 

Peacemakers partners with Ray Dougalas from Anti Youth Violence, a not-for-profit violence prevention programme developed in response to the rise in youth gang related violence within the UK. This unique partnership of Birmingham-based Peacemakers (with a proven track record in the promoting and teaching of peace to young people) and Birmingham-based Anti Youth Violence (with a proven track record in violence reduction through education)  delivers a powerful joint message throughout targeted schools and communities in Birmingham. 


We are seeking to work with young people placed at risk of exclusion for aggression, violence or knife carrying. Birmingham is seeing a rise in knife crime with an increase in knife crime of 19 per cent in 2018 compared to the year ending September 2017. The 3,108 knife crimes in West Midlands, work out as an average of nearly nine incidents every day.

The pilot of our project Minus Violence Plus Peace (-V+P) was extremely well received and successful. Positive Peace Groups are a key part of the Project. They run for 12 hours over six weeks, with small groups of approximately 6 young people who are identified by the school at risk of being involved in youth violence or knife crime in particular.  In these sessions we explore themes of peace and conflict within the young people’s lives and resource them to deal with conflict creatively and non-violently.








The sessions look at how young people placed at risk of becoming involved in violence, particularly knife crime, understand their vulnerability; and to promote self-advocacy as part of building safer, more peaceful communities in hot spot areas for knife crime. Topics include:

  • Mapping conflict
  • Peace words
  • Experiences of peace
  • Staying calm
  • Conflict escalator
  • Anger rules
  • Assertiveness not aggression
  • Power inventory
  • Key issues for young people in Birmingham
  • Intentions and commitments to change
  • Disseminating messages for a peaceful community (both inside and outside school).
Positive feedback from the young people included:
  • “You don’t need violence to sort peace. You can talk.”
  • “I’m starting to control anger when everything goes upside down.”
  • “I would like to tell people my experience of stuff and I would also want to listen to what they have to say. I would want to tell them who I am and see how similar they are.”
  • “I have gained a lot of trust and I am now expressing what I think. How to react [in conflict].”
  • “I can express my feelings in the group, none is going to judge me. Talk about real stuff and what would happen. Not just saying sorry and walking away.”
Due to this success we are continuing the –V+P Project work in schools and extending it to youth clubs.


For more information:

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Twitter: @WMQPEP