Applies to England and Wales
In response to a government consultation in 2019 on a new legal duty to support a multi-agency approach to preventing and tackling serious violence, there was an overall consensus for a legislative approach to a duty. As a result, the Serious Violence Duty (‘the duty’) was legislated for as part of the Police, Crime, Sentencing, and Courts Act 2022 (‘the PCSC Act’) and is a key part of the government’s commitment to reduce and prevent serious violence.
The duty covers the requirements set out in chapter 1 of part 2 of the PCSC Act 2022; where it requires specified authorities, the police, local authorities, fire and rescue authorities, youth offending teams, Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) in England, Local Health Boards in Wales and probation services, to work together to formulate an evidence-based analysis of serious violence in a local area and then formulate and implement a strategy detailing how they will respond to those issues.
This consultation seeks views on the draft statutory guidance on the Serious Violence Duty which will be issued by the Secretary of State under section 19 of the PCSC Act 2022. The aim of the guidance is to support specified authorities, local policing bodies, educational, prison and youth custody authorities, any persons prescribed by the Secretary of State in regulations under section 10 of the PCSC Act 2022 in the exercise of their functions under the duty as set out in chapter 1 of part 2 of the act.
The consultation is aimed at those with expertise in working with young people at risk of criminal involvement and/or re-offending or victimisation, those involved in law enforcement and, more generally, the communities affected by serious violence including the voluntary and community sector. This includes relevant professionals, such as those working in social care, education, law enforcement, local government, community safety, youth services, offender management, victims’ services, public health and healthcare.
Proposals for implementation of the Serious Violence Duty
We aim to publish the final statutory guidance before planned commencement of the Serious Violence Duty early in 2023 so partners are sufficiently prepared for implementation. In advance of the indicated commencement, secondary legislation will be brought forward to make further provision for or in connection with the publication and dissemination of strategies and conferring functions on local policing bodies.
A draft of the statutory guidance was published on 13 May 2021. This was to inform the discussions during the passage of the bill. Since its publication, we have received comments from a range of stakeholders as well as during the debates in both Houses of Parliament. We committed to further develop the guidance in relation to safeguarding and add new content on housing and homelessness. The draft guidance now includes guidance to reflect the application of the duty in Wales and reflects government amendments made during the parliamentary passage of the PCSC Act.
Once the consultation response and final version of the guidance have been published, the Serious Violence Duty and associated secondary legislation will be commenced and local partnerships will be required to work towards publication and dissemination of their strategies.