What is Virtual_Decisions?
Virtual Decisions is an innovative award-winning VR in Education programme that is helping to support thousands of young people who are at risk of criminal exploitation. The programme uses virtual reality (VR) technology to immerse young people in realistic scenarios that they may face in their lives. This allows them to experience the consequences of their choices and to make better decisions about their future.
The Virtual Decisions programme consists of two parts:
- The VR experience: This is a 20-minute VR film that takes young people through a series of dilemmas and illustrates the impacts of their choices. The film uses high-end VR headsets with haptic feedback and 180˚ social interaction to immerse participants in unique scenarios.
- The creative arts workshops: Following the VR experience, young people participate in creative arts workshops that explore the issues raised in the film in more depth. These workshops are facilitated by experts in the field of criminal exploitation and provide young people with a safe space to reflect on their experiences and to develop coping mechanisms.
The Virtual Decisions programme is based on extensive research and has been shown to be effective in reducing the risk of criminal exploitation among young people. The programme has been praised by educators, policymakers, and young people alike.
How does Virtual_Decisions align with with the Youth Endowment Fund (YEF) Focused Deterrence Approach:
There are currently two Virtual_Decisions programmes, Virtual_Decisions: GANGS and Virtual_Decisions: KNIVES. In line with the Youth Endowment Fund (YEF) Focused Deterrence Approach, both of these programmes combine communicating the consequences of violence with support for developing positive routes away from it.
- Virtual Decisions is a virtual reality (VR) experience that allows young people to make decisions about whether or not to engage in risk taking or anti-social behaviour. This aligns with the YEF Focused Deterrence Approach, which emphasises the importance of providing young people with opportunities to learn about the consequences of their actions and to make better choices.
- Virtual Decisions is designed to be engaging and interactive, which can help to capture the attention of young people and make them more likely to learn from the experience. This is also consistent with the YEF Focused Deterrence Approach, which stresses the importance of using innovative and creative approaches to reach young people.
- Virtual Decisions is grounded in evidence-based research on the factors that contribute to violence. This ensures that the experience is relevant to the experiences of young people and that it is likely to be effective in reducing violence.
- Virtual Decisions is designed to be used in conjunction with other violence prevention interventions, such as mentoring and counselling. This approach is consistent with the YEF Focused Deterrence Approach, which emphasises the importance of using a comprehensive approach to violence prevention.
In addition to the above, here are some specific ways in which Virtual Decisions can be used to align with the YEF Focused Deterrence Approach:
- Virtual Decisions can be used to identify and target young people who are at risk of engaging in violence. The experience can be used to assess young people’s knowledge of the consequences of violence and to identify those who are most likely to benefit from further intervention.
- Virtual Decisions can be used to provide young people with opportunities to learn about the consequences of their actions. The experience can be used to simulate different scenarios involving violence and to show young people the potential consequences of their choices.
- Virtual Decisions can be used to help young people develop better decision-making skills. The experience can be used to teach young people how to identify and manage risk, how to solve problems peacefully, and how to make better choices in difficult situations.
- Virtual Decisions can be used to build relationships between young people and mentors. The experience can be used to create opportunities for young people to interact with mentors and to learn from their experiences.
Overall, Virtual Decisions is a valuable tool that can be used to align with the YEF Focused Deterrence Approach to violence prevention. The experience is engaging, interactive, and grounded in evidence-based research. It can be used to identify and target young people who are at risk of engaging in violence, to provide young people with opportunities to learn about the consequences of their actions, to help young people develop better decision-making skills, and to build relationships between young people and mentors.