Safer Young Lives is part of the Institute of Applied Social Research

Evaluation of the Bedfordshire Violence and Exploitation Reduction Unit (VERU)

Overview of the Bedfordshire VERU

Violence and exploitation are key public health issues across Bedfordshire (Bedford Borough, Central Bedfordshire, Luton Borough), influencing the health and wellbeing of the population and leading to significant health inequalities.

Whilst many people survive their experience of violence and/or exploitation, these experiences can have an impact on people’s physical and mental health and wellbeing right across the life course.

The Bedfordshire VERU believes that violence and exploitation are preventable. The aim of the VERU’s work is to stop these forms of harm before they start and to improve the health and wellbeing of our population. In order to achieve this they take a whole-system multi-agency approach.

This involves working with partners across multiple agencies and organisational boundaries with three key objectives:

  • to identify and address the root causes and drivers of violence and exploitation
  • to promote factors that protect individuals from becoming involved in violence and exploitation in the first place and intervene early
  • to deliver services that support individuals and families experiencing these forms of harm.


The evaluation will aim to assess the impact of VERU in line with the the strategic priorities they have identified in the Strategic Needs Assessment and Response [PDF] (2020-25) and a number of associated objectives, namely:

  • Preventing violence and exploitation before it begins
  • Criminal Justice enforcement and rehabilitation
  • Manage and reduce risks for those involved in violence and exploitation
  • Early detection and intervention

The evaluation activities being carried out are:

  • Further developing the VERU’s Theory of Change
  • Understanding and evaluating the activities and impact of services commissioned by the VERU
  • Exploring multi-agency working across Bedfordshire, focusing on the role of the VERU within the system.

The aim of these activities is to identify what is working well and less well, with a view to making recommendations and highlighting good practice.

Final Report: 

VERU Final Report [PDF]


Safer Young Lives Research Centre
Institute of Applied Social Research
University of Bedfordshire
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