Defusing conflict, anywhere


Conflict can happen to anyone, anywhere. You might be expecting it or it might take you by surprise, but how you respond really matters! Will your actions escalate the situation or defuse it? Say and do the defusing thing and you greatly increase your chances of getting the outcome you want from the situation!

Dfuse has now closed

We have had 10 great years, helping people and organisations to manage conflict, aggression and antisocial behaviour, but unfortunately we can no longer continue. Thank you to all who have worked with us and supported us, we have met some fantastic people along to way. A report of our achievements over the 10 years will be posted here soon.

We didn’t want our work or the Dfuse Defusing Approach to disappear as we know that our teaching resources can make a difference in schools and communities and that many organisations rely on our training for their workforce. Therefore links to contact our lead trainers directly are given below and we have made all of our teaching resources available - for free! In fact, even better than that, the resources are also royalty free! Click the links below to get yours! Take them, adapt them, rebrand them and use them in your own context - all we ask is that you credit Dfuse as your source.

Get Dfuse teaching resources for young people - all for free!

Young people regularly face conflict with friends, family and people in authority and are often victims of antisocial behaviour. Many have difficulty managing conflict and confrontation; a simple misunderstanding can all too easily escalate to become destructive or violent.

Have a look at our range of teaching resources which you can use to pass on defusing skills to young people at school or through informal settings. All of the materials assume no specialist knowledge of defusing as everything you need is provided. Using a mixture of videos, images, activities and discussions the resources provide interactive and engaging sessions to show young people how to manage conflict and aggression.

Download: Resource  &  Slides

Download: Resource  &  Film

Download: Resource  &  Film

Download: Resource  &  Film

Get the Dfuse workshop for teachers - for free!

Working with young people can be one of the most rewarding jobs, but it comes with its challenges. Conflict can come from anywhere – from students, parents, colleagues or members of the local community – and with pressure on schools to perform it’s not going to get any easier! 

At some point it’s likely that you may be faced with conflict which if not managed effectively can easily escalate, resulting in frustration, anger and even physical assault. Use this toolkit to lead discussions with colleagues exploring approaches to conflict, aggression and challenging behaviour and learn together how to handle such situations calmly, effectively, and above all – safely.

The Defusing Conflict in Schools Programme was developed with teachers and teaching organisations, including Ambition School Leadership, to apply the skills of defusing experts to the situations teachers face.  

This toolkit provides all you need to facilitate two short CPD sessions: 1) Conflict: what it is, how it escalates and approaches and techniques that will help defuse and 2) Communication in conflict: how to ensure effective communication and approaches for influencing others in conflict situations.

Get the Dfuse workshop for community groups - for free!


Most of us get on with our neighbours most of the time, but sometimes relationships become strained and  we find ourselves in an uncomfortable conflict situation which has the potential to escalate into something destructive, aggressive or violent if not defused. Controlling strong emotions and choosing to defuse, rather than ‘fight’ back can be a challenge and rushing in without thinking can make matters worse. Involving the Police, the Local Authority or landlords too early could turn a minor problem into a major dispute – and divert resources away from more serious matters. Defusing skills help us all to take a step back, assess the situation and choose a safe and appropriate

Dfuse teamed up with Thames Valley Police, Victory Housing Trust and Wates Living Space to prepare community members to resolve their neighbourhood conflicts. You can use the workshop tools to promote defusing in your own community:

Based on five typical community conflict scenarios, this toolkit provides videos, audio clips, activities and discussion threads for community and housing workers to deliver a short defusing skills workshop with community groups.

All the background information is provided so you don’t need to be an expert.

Click to download


Why was Dfuse formed?


Jane (2)Dfuse was founded by Jane Atkinson in 2007 in response to a growing number of reported incidents of antisocial behaviour, including one where an individual was fatally stabbed on a public bus whilst others looked helplessly on. Many people are reluctant to get involved to prevent antisocial behaviour, even low level disorder. This is often due to fear for personal safety or an anxiety that any intervention may make a situation worse. However, to do nothing sends a message to the perpetrators and society in general that antisocial behaviour is tolerated and acceptable.

Jane observed how new police officers quickly learn to handle difficult public order incidents calmly and effectively. This led her to enquire whether the training given to new police recruits could be adapted for members of the public so that individuals and communities could develop the confidence and skills to respond safely to challenging and antisocial behaviour. Jane tried this out, and it worked - and so Dfuse was formed.

Dfuse’s mission was to create a critical mass of individuals willing and able to act in a safe and appropriate way to reduce the occurrence, and mitigate the consequences of, anti-social behaviour. We wanted to equip as many people as possible with skills and confidence to make immediate brief interventions to defuse conflict. We particularly wanted to support people who face confrontation, aggression and violence on a regular basis and those who respond aggressively to conflict to assist them to resolve situations peacefully.

Keep the Dfuse message going!

Dfuse - the organisation - is no more, and so we look to you to continue to promote defusing skills amongst your colleagues, neighbours, clients and beneficiaries. Take the resources above, share them, use them, re-develop them and re-brand them for your organisation. We would love to hear what you are doing with the materials, so please use the form below to let us know.

If you’d like training or need help with adapting materials, then the people below can help

Martin Graves has been a Dfuse Lead Trainers since it began and specialises in both the communication and the physical sides of defusing. During the early years of his 30 year career in the Police Martin worked the front-line in East London. Before retirement he managed a training unit at Hendon Police College, annually training 5,000 new recruits to the Met. Martin develops personal safety and communication training on a National Level.

Click here to contact Martin for Defusing Skills training.

Nigel Tinsley-Such was one of Dfuse’s Lead Trainers for 4 years and specialises in the advanced communication elements of defusing. Nigel has 28 years’ exemplary service with the British Police. As a Police Operational Commander, Hostage and Crisis Negotiator, Nigel has built up vast experience of successfully resolving demanding situations. Nigel can deliver Defusing Skills training for your group anywhere in the UK.

Click here to contact Nigel for Defusing Skills training.

Matt Overd ran Dfuse’s day-to-day operations. He managed the projects, developed the training programmes and produced all of the resources available above. He has worked in education and the voluntary sector for over 20 years and has produced a range of educational materials for schools, youth organisations, charities and companies.

Click here to contact Matt for assistance with adapting the teaching resources to your setting or developing wider programmes of defusing activty.

Gary Crawford has been developing Dfuse in Scotland and also runs a variety of related communication skills courses. Gary has 30 years service with the Scottish Police in a variety of roles, including Firearms and Event Commander and 15 years as a Hostage and Crisis Negotiator. Gary has built up vast experience of successfully resolving situations in the most hostile and stressful environments.

Click here to contact Gary for Defusing Skills training throughout Scotland.

Get in touch

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