The Hampton Trust developed LINX primarily through research that identified a gap in provision for young people who were showing signs of escalating violence and had experienced domestic abuse. Initially the focus was on young people who were committing violent offences. It was clear that how young people felt as a result of their lived experience was impacting on how they subsequently behaved. The programme was named LINX in response to making connections between experiences, feelings and behaviour.

The LINX concept was initially piloted in 2006 across the Wessex Youth Offending teams. From observations of young people in group and reviewing reoffending it became clear that young people who displayed higher levels of empathy demonstrated a reduced risk of offending. Since 2006 LINX has worked with over 3000 young people.

The main aim of LINX is to help young people understand the concept of cognitive and affective empathy and to help reduce anti-social or violent behaviour from occurring in the future. LINX has an understanding that anti-social behaviour is frequently adopted as a survival strategy and therefore offers a credible alternative to exclusion and disruptive behaviour.

To illustrate the concept of empathy we designed a unique interactive magnetic ‘Empathy Wall’ (below). The wall enables young people to explore links between their lived experience, feelings and actions. They are given the opportunity to explore skills to manage risk and learn how to communicate in a safe and constructive manner, in turn helping them to build healthy relationships, develop social skills and emotional literacy.

Since its inception, LINX has developed from a programme initially targeting young people who had experience domestic abuse to now encompass disengaged and disruptive young people who have experienced a range of adverse circumstances. This includes young offenders and those at risk of entering the criminal justice system or school exclusion. We work across schools and take referrals from young people who are struggling to engage in school and are at risk of exclusion.

We currently deliver LINX in Basingstoke in community and school settings.

We also deliver LINX in schools in Southampton. If you have funding and are interesting in having LINX in your school please contact us.

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