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A montage of images shows tables of people at a workshop event, discussing the subject matter

Working together to tackle serious violence

by Jonathan Kearney

On Thursday 14 March Knowsley’s Crime and Communities organised and hosted the borough’s inaugural Serious Violence Duty forum at Court Hey Park.

This follows the launch of the Merseyside Serious Violence Duty Strategy earlier this year, which provides a plan for reducing and preventing serious violence across the region.

The impactful Knowsley event was attended by numerous partners, including Council services, Merseyside Police, Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service, Livv Housing, Change Grow Live and One Knowsley.

Victims of serious violence, including Cheryl Korbel, the mother of 9-year-old Olivia Pratt-Korbel – who was tragically murdered in her own home in August 2022 – were also engaged in the event.

The Knowsley forum involved interactive and thought-provoking activities and workshops to enable partners to consider what causes serious violence and how it can be prevented.

Partners watched the emotive “True Power of People” video, which features children from Olivia’s school St Margaret Mary’s Catholic Junior School in Huyton, as an important reminder of why tackling serious violence remains a priority in Knowsley and across the region.

Andrew Donaldson, Knowsley Council’s Executive Director for Communities and Neighbourhoods, said: “Knowsley’s Crime and Communities successfully brought together various partners to deliver a thought-provoking and really effective forum. Important strides have been made to tackle serious violence in the region but it is vital that everyone – from Police to members of the local community – work in close partnership in order to prevent serious violence from happening.”

Knowsley Local Policing Chief Inspector Chris Ruane said: “I welcome the launch of the strategy for Knowsley and was struck by the commitment and desire of all in attendance to reduce serious violence in the borough. The video from our local children demonstrated the importance of what we are doing as a partnership. Merseyside Police are fully committed to reducing serious violence. We have seen a 30% reduction in serious violence for Knowsley specifically this year but we recognise the impact of each offence upon victims and will continue to work in partnership to reduce these offences further.”