Education is one of a number of areas highlighted by the Home Office in an appeal for a multi-agency approach to preventing and tackling serious violence.

Agencies from other sectors — including health, social services, housing and youth — are also being encouraged to help develop targeted interventions in local communities.

The Government is proposing both a new legal duty to support the multi-agency action required to prevent and tackle serious violence, and a non-legislative option for partners to work together voluntarily.

Action should be guided by evidence of the problems and what works in tackling their root causes, the Home Office explains, with organisations coming together to share information, data and intelligence.

The proposed multi-agency, “public health duty” is intended to help spot the warning signs that a young person could be in danger.

Examples given include worrying behaviour at school or presenting at an accident and emergency unit with a suspicious injury.

Announcing the consultation on the proposals, the Home Office pointed out that similar approaches have been used in Scotland and Wales.

“The public health, multi-agency approach has a proven track record and I’m confident that making it a legal duty will help stop this senseless violence and create long-term change,” commented Home Secretary Sajid Javid.

Details of the consultation, including how to respond to it, can be found at www.gov.uk. The deadline for responses is 28 May 2019. The move is part of wider government action aimed at addressing the problem of serious violence, with a particular focus on tackling knife crime.

However, the move has not been well-received by teaching unions.

Geoff Barton, the general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), said: “It is hard to see how it would be either workable or reasonable to make teachers accountable for preventing knife crime. What sort of behaviour would they be expected to report and who would they report to?”

Last reviewed 15 April 2019