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Greater Manchester MA co-launches virtual reality project

Innovative scheme seeks to tackle youth and knife crime


16 June 2022
Greater Manchester MA co-launches virtual reality project

On 15 June 2022, Greater Manchester Magistrates' Association (GMMA) and the Greater Manchester Violence Reduction Unit launched a one-of-a-kind 12-week programme that seeks to engage young people on the impacts of knife crime and the consequences of decisions with the help of virtual reality (VR).

The Violence Prevention through Virtual Education Programme (Virtual_Decisions) is based on a successful pilot that saw the partnership lead, commisson and trial a VR programme created and facilitated by creative arts company Round Midnight.

Nearly 1,400 students took part in the pilot, during which they experienced realistic dilemmas, peer pressure and decision-making requirements in a safe, virtual environment. The innovative harm reduction scheme is now being rolled out in schools across the region.

GMMA chair, Paul Brearley, shared the following reflections on the project's benefits and potential – as well as on other Magistrates in the Community initiatives the MA is involved with in the region – at the launch, which was attended by Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham, among others:

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