Risk-Avert: helping young people to understand and manage risk

Our award-winning Risk-Avert is the best evaluated programme of its kind in the UK. It takes an innovative approach to identifying young people vulnerable to multiple risk-taking, is mostly aimed at children in Year 8, and gives non-specialist staff the skills, tools and confidence to achieve real, positive outcomes when working with them.


In 2016/17 76% of young people achieve positive outcomes relating to their mental well-being

Originally developed jointly by TTE and Essex County Council, Risk-Avert is delivered in schools by teachers who the young people know and trust. The programme has also been adopted by the following Local Authorities:

  • Essex
  • Southend
  • Thurrock
  • Hertfordshire
  • Oxfordshire
  • Medway
  • Suffolk
  • Buckinghamshire
  • East Sussex

Understanding ‘why’ is key to helping young people to manage risk

Whilst positive risk-taking is essential to healthy development, this programme explores ways of helping young people to develop the skills which allow them to identify, understand and manage negative risk-taking.

Looking beyond the behaviour’ has been the most useful concept, it’s helped me to think about what is going on behind issues or incidents. It’s like a shift in mind set, towards considering drivers for poor behaviour and doing something about those.

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It let you think about what you would actually do in those situations. If someone gave you a cigarette would you smoke? ‘Would I do it? Who’s with me? Are they one of my true best friends?

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They said to be assertive and it gives you a whole new point of view. Gives you views on how to solve something. For instance someone’s being bullied. They might say forget it but the person keeps coming and doing it. And then they might be assertive and just tell them to stop.

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The reasons why people engage in risk-taking behaviours are highly complex. Often they have nothing to do with knowledge of the related risks of the behaviour, so this programme uses an approach based on understanding why young people make certain decisions even when they know the risks involved.