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CEO Message 2007

2007 has been a breakthrough year for WAVE. Our first 9 years saw us focus on research to create our deep understanding of the root causes of violence and child abuse, and global best practice in addressing those root causes. In 2005 we published Violence and what to do about it, which summarised that research. The report was very well received, with recurring comments on its strategic value from police, psychologists and politicians of all major parties. In 2006 the priority was to build on the success of the WAVE report, and in particular to conduct educational work with senior civil servants and senior police officers in both England andScotland.

In 2007 we have finally seen our ideas being adopted by major political parties, in both England and Scotland; we have been recognised by the World Health Organisation; and our recommendations have begun to be put into practice. In addition, after years of struggling financially and surviving only by virtue of our dedicated team of volunteers, 2007 has been a year of financial breakthrough. WAVE has never been so strong, or had so many opportunities before it.

Family Nurse Partnership

Between 2001 and 2006 WAVE repeatedly recommended to the UK Government that it run a pilot study of the American Nurse Family Partnership (NFP) project. This is a form of intensive home visiting, targeted at at-risk families, which has reduced child abuse by 50% and criminal offending in 15-year-old males by 80% inUS research studies. In 2004 CEO George Hosking went to Denver to meet David Olds, the originator of the NFP, and since then WAVE has been working collaboratively with him to bring NFP to the UK.

In 2006 we won the support of the Prime Minster's Strategy Unit and Cabinet Minister Hilary Armstrong for this proposal and subsequently Tony Blair announced funding of £7m for ten pilot studies located in different regions of England and Wales. These pilots were launched in 2007 and initial feedback from both families and nurses is very positive. In England the project has been named the Family Nurse Partnership.

Pilot City Project

One recommendation in the 2005 WAVE Report was to select one city to pilot a range of interlocking WAVE recommended interventions and to measure their cumulative effect.

In pursuit of this goal, which was backed by Graham Allen, the Labour MP for Nottingham North, we met with the UK Home Secretary John Reid in December 2006 and made a presentation to him, outlining both our early prevention strategy and our pilot city recommendation. He endorsed both and asked WAVE to work together with the Home Office Violent Crime Unit to turn the pilot city idea into a detailed proposal. Graham Allen suggested that Nottingham be selected to be the pilot city, and this was also endorsed. WAVE carried out the bulk of the work of developing this proposal in detail during early 2007 and it was duly submitted to John Reid, and gained his support, but lost momentum with the change in Prime Minister and Home Secretary.

Later in the year, again with Graham Allen's support, we met with the new Home Secretary Jacqui Smith and the Minister for the Cabinet Office Ed Miliband and obtained their support for the proposed pilot project. In addition, the Prime Minister's Strategy Unit contacted us and said that they would like to draw on WAVE's advice during the detailed evolution of the project. The pilot city proposal was subsequently endorsed and the project launched in Nottingham in 2008.


WAVE continued its early prevention education work during the year, particularly through presentations to audiences of professionals and policy makers. During 2007 WAVE presentations were made to:

  1. Association of Chief Police Officers
  2. Association of Directors of Education, Scotland
  3. Barnet Domestic Violence Conference
  4. Centre for Social Justice working groups (x 3)
  5. Community Practitioners and Health Visitors (CPHVA) Annual Conference
  6. Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership delegates from the London boroughs
  7. Devon County Council Domestic Violence Conference
  8. Educational Psychologists National Conference
  9. Home-Start National Convention
  10. Lewisham Children's Services
  11. Nottingham City / One Nottingham seminar on Pilot City proposal
  12. Safer London Foundation
  13. Several MPs, Cabinet ministers and shadow ministers
  14. Thomas ap Rhys Pryce Memorial Trust
  15. Union Bank of Switzerland
  16. Westminster Briefings (x3)
  17. WHO Global Campaign for Violence Prevention Conference

At the CPHVA Conference delegates voted WAVE's contribution the most valuable out of nearly 20 separate presentations.

Co-operative work with Police Forces

During 2006 and 2007 WAVE worked closely with the Scottish Violence Reduction Unit (SVRU), set up by Strathclyde Police. The SVRU heartily endorsed WAVE's early prevention recommendations and actively promoted them with the Scottish government. We also had a separate meeting with the Chief Constable of Strathclyde, where our advice on prevention measures was sought.

We have also been working closely with the Metropolitan Police in London since September 2006. This has included contributing to their thinking on Youth Violence and Serious Violence Strategies, being appointed to lead the "Programmes" strand of the Prevention component of the Five Boroughs Alliance (the London boroughs of Croydon, Greenwich, Lambeth, Lewisham and Southwark) and working with the Five Boroughs Alliance to design intervention programmes for teenagers who are gang members or at risk of becoming gang members. The design entailed marrying together the core elements of (i) WAVE's successful one-to-one prison "An End to Violence" programme (no person completing this programme has subsequently committed a violent offence, in prison or out) with (ii) the large group training and personal development know-how of a new American recruit to WAVE, Robert Razz, who will lead this new programme when it is launched in 2008.

November Conference on serious youth violence

WAVE's largest time commitment in 2007 was to organise and run a major conference in London, for which the trustees set very stretching goal - that it should make a significant difference to levels of serious violence in London.

In November months of planning and preparation culminated in the event, a conference entitled "Working together to reduce serious youth violence". This brought together 300 police, school heads and members of the Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnerships of the 33 London boroughs, together with academic expert speakers. The work for this began many weeks before, with a number of initiatives designed to ensure a constructive interactive relationship with the delegates, capturing their ideas and expertise, rather than one where they were passive listeners. This helped ensure a very high level of participation by those attending. A report on the conference, containing 45 recommendations for action, and proposed next steps to implement them, was produced by WAVE in early 2008.

Contributing to the evolution of public policy

During 2007 WAVE had a number of meetings with Cabinet Ministers, including Prime Ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, with the Conservative Shadow Attorney General Dominic Grieve, with the former Leader of the Conservative Party Iain Duncan Smith, with the Lib Dem Shadow Minister for Social Exclusion Danny Alexander and Shadow Minister for Health Norman Lamb, as well as other individual MPs. In each case we presented our research findings on the causes of violent behaviour, and global best practice for reducing violence, with emphasis on the value of early prevention. In each case the ideas were very well received, and usually led to specific follow-up actions or meetings with civil servants. For example, after a meeting at 10 Downing Street where Prime Minister Gordon Brown and five other Cabinet Ministers invited a small group of people (many of them Chiefs of Police Forces) to advise on how to tackle the problems of guns, gangs and knives, the Prime Minister's Chief Policy Advisor on Home Affairs said he had been especially interested in what WAVE had to say and invited further input from us on how to put our early prevention proposals into detailed practice. We were also invited during 2007 to contribute to thinking by the Prime Minister's Strategy Unit, and (following a meeting with Home Secretary Jacqui Smith) to a Home Office policy group on violent crime reduction.

The meetings with the Conservative Party were very timely as it allowed us to contribute to a new policy document which they were producing, called 'BreakthroughBritain'. This document, one of a number of advisory documents prepared for party leader David Cameron, contains a number of extracts from the WAVE Report and the WAVE presentations and endorses our proposals.

Work with Local Authorities

During the year we had on-going discussions on early prevention strategy with Greater Glasgow Health Authority and were invited to carry out a project for Tower Hamlets Borough Council to advise them on how to make their early intervention strategy even more effective. Both these strands of work continued into 2008.

WHO Global Violence Prevention Alliance

In July George Hosking participated in and ran a workshop at the World Health Organisation's international conference in Scotland on violence prevention. Three times during the event WAVE's work was commended from the rostrum by speakers. As a result of this, in September Brojo Pillai and George Hosking were invited to visit the WHO headquarters in Geneva and meet the Head of WHO's Department of Injuries and Violence Prevention, Dr Alex Butchart. This was a very productive meeting and led to WAVE being invited to become a member of WHO's Global Violence Prevention Alliance.

Updating the WAVE Report and ongoing research

A great deal of new research was carried out in 2007 to support a decision to extend WAVE's expertise into the area of youth violence. Brojo Pillai, a new member of the team, contributed significantly to studies of global best practice in addressing gangs and serious youth violence. In September, funded by the Man Group, WAVE was able to hire a researcher as a first step in a planned update of the 2005 WAVE Report.

New Philanthropy

The UK charity New Philanthropy Corporation (NPC) carries out in-depth studies of charities involved in specific fields of activity and then recommends those which it believes represent good value for money to potential donors. During 2007 they carried out an in-depth study of 100 child abuse charities and finally recommended 8 of these as being best value for potential donors. WAVE was one of the eight, and the only one to put forward an early prevention message. NPC said in their appraisal of WAVE "The Wave Trust, therefore, is unique in its approach . its potential to create change is unrivalled by other organisations."

WAVE Fund-raising

This has been the most successful period in WAVE's history in terms of funding, with the delightful contribution of £32,000 from an anonymous donor, via New Philanthropy, allowing us at last to cover some core costs and rewarding a year of ongoing, detailed appraisal by NPC.

Successful funding applications were made to The Thomas ap Rhys Pryce Memorial Trust, Safer London Foundation, Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust, Erach and Roshan Sadri Foundation, The Man Group, Mercers' Charitable Trust, William A Cadbury Charitable Trust and City Bridge Trust. In addition, funds were received from the Metropolitan Police for the bulk of the costs of the November Conference, and there were ongoing contributions from Cameron Consultants (our main funder over the past 11 years) and Pillars of Parenting.

Some quotes on WAVE in 2007

WAVE's work with the Cabinet Office and the Treasury was invaluable in helping change Government attitude to the importance of early intervention in an overall violence reduction strategy. Their strategy of collaborative engagement with Ministers, MPs, Government departments, Police, Health, and Education services, Local Authorities and others has saved years in our journey towards a violence-free society.

Graham Allen, MP and Head of One Nottingham Partnership


.other than the threat from terrorism, violence by young people on young people is the most significant cause of fear and concern about community safety. the WAVE Trust [is] part of the solution.

Sir Ian Blair, Commissioner, Metropolitan Police


The message of the WAVE report is so clear and so well argued that I have circulated it widely to clinical colleagues and policy makers. The findings are particularly powerful because of the status of WAVE as an independent NGO/charity without any other axe to grind. There have been numerous references to the report in policy and practice discussions and the Director of Public Health in Glasgow has entirely endorsed the content and importance of the early years for the prevention of later violence. A small task force is currently drawing up a coherent intervention strategy and the WAVE report is playing a significant role in shaping the content of this strategy.

Dr Christine Puckering, Glasgow SG Hospital, advisor to the Scottish Executive.


Since learning of their extensive research over a year ago, I have sought to interject their message in as many areas as possible in the political work I take part in. George's work was a great influence on the symposium 'Thugs Beyond Redemption?' last July from which David Cameron was associated with 'Hugging Hoodies'. Because much of the research the Wave Trust carries out is presented in an easily accessible and pragmatic fashion, it doesn't take a degree in Psychology to understand and hence is easily assimilated by people from all walks of life....especially politicians and policy makers. This is a unique advantage which I cannot stress enough. As a result many on the policy groups have realised the incredible importance of the psychological and neurological impact of parenting and the environment. This is a major breakthrough and will help form future policy on the family in this country.

Melanie Gill, Child Forensic Psychologist, works for Centre for Social Justice and sitting on Family Breakdown Policy Group reporting to David Cameron


I have met countless people over the last week who were completely taken by your main presentation and the workshops you lead. We had hoped to spark a radical new approach and increased focus on the impact of domestic violence on children and families. Your inspirational opening address certainly exceeded our hopes.

Roy Tomlinson, Policy Officer, Chief Executive Directorate, Devon County Council


 I wanted to say how much I enjoyed the WAVE conference. It is the best conference I have yet been to. I consider the WAVE Report to be the most enlightening policy document that I have read in my professional life. After years of dealing with the effects of crime it set out a clear, robust and practical way to tackle the causes. This is starting to fundamentally change the way we do business.

Jon Underwood, Partnership and Performance Manager, Community Safety, Tower Hamlets.


George's presentation on Early Years Learning had the most profound effect on me - I have rarely come across such a thought-provoking presentation. I was feverishly scribbling away when George said that if we just listened we could have an electronic copy of his presentation. I would be very grateful if you could forward it to me as I wish to share the ideas with my colleagues. I hope it will initiate a debate into where we actually allocate our resources and where we could do more and achieve more.

Jim Reyner, Quality Improvement Manager, Education and Social Care, Shetland Islands Council


Thank you for the time you took for last week's visit to Geneva - it was inspiring to learn of your considerable achievements in moving an evidence-based approach to the early developmental prevention of violence ahead in the UK, and fascinating to see the close parallels between the work of WAVE and unfolding of the WHO violence prevention activities. There is no doubt that collaboration will be mutually beneficial, and it will be exciting over the next few weeks to develop terms of reference for joint activities that WAVE and WHO can pursue [starting with] WHO convening a strategy development meeting with WAVE and five to six other partners working on global strategy development.

Dr. Alexander Butchart, Co-ordinator, Prevention of Violence, Department of Injuries and Violence Prevention, World Health Organization, Geneva