Channel 1 Los Angeles
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has today announced record investment to increase the number of youth workers in hospitals across the city and help steer young people away from violence.
More than £4 million will fund additional teams of youth workers to be based for the first time in five Accident & Emergency hospitals in areas with high levels of young victims of violent crime – Newham General Hospital in Plaistow, The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Woolwich, Croydon University Hospital, University Hospital Lewisham and Whittington Hospital, covering Islington and Haringey.
This investment will also provide an increase in the number of specialist youth workers already based in London’s four Major Trauma Centres – Kings, St George’s, St Marys and the Royal London hospitals. The Mayor’s funding will continue to invest in youth workers in A&E departments at North Middlesex University Hospital in Enfield and St Thomas Hospital in Lambeth, as well as providing funding for the first time to youth workers who are currently working in Homerton A&E in Hackney. This funding from the Mayor will now mean that City Hall is funding more than half of all the youth worker posts in London hospitals.
Youth workers based in hospital departments has shown that young people who arrive at London’s Major Trauma Centres with serious injuries will have been to A&E previously with lower level injuries. Basing youth workers in A&E departments lets them intervene much earlier and engage with young people when they arrive at hospital with injuries – the time when they are most receptive to changing their behaviour.
Last year, more than 1,000 young people were identified as in need of specialist youth worker support in London’s Major Trauma Centres, due to potentially suffering violence or exploitation. Youth workers were able to help 432 young people last year, aiding them in moving away from violence in their lives and assisting with education, relationships or housing. Of these young people, 52 were under-18 and not previously known to support services, showing the success of this approach at reaching some of the most vulnerable and at-risk young Londoners.
This investment forms a crucial part of Sadiq’s public-health approach to tackling violent crime in the capital. He has launched England’s first violence reduction unit in London which is working in partnership with the NHS, local authorities, the police and specialist youth services to divert people away from violence by making interventions at an early age, addressing the causes of violence and providing young Londoners with positive life opportunities.
Visiting the A&E at North Middlesex University Hospital in Enfield today [Monday 14th October], Sadiq joined the Director of London’s Violence Reduction Unit, Lib Peck, to meet the hospital’s A&E staff to hear about the successful interventions youth workers have been making.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “It is a tragedy that our city is being robbed of young people with so much potential and it is vital we do all we can to help them move away from a life of violence. Embedding youth workers in hospitals has already made a profound difference to the lives of some of the most vulnerable young Londoners, reaching them at a crucial junction in their lives and helping them choose a different path away from violence. This is why I am investing record amounts to significantly expand this work and introduce specialist youth workers to more A&E departments.”
Director of London’s Violence Reduction Unit, Lib Peck, said: “The best time to stop violence is before it starts – that is why new funding to introduce youth workers into A&E departments is so important. Young people tell me that the youth workers are often a significant relationship in their lives and that it’s the point that they are introduced to new opportunities and diverted away from crime. This allows us to intervene much earlier to reduce violence – helping a young person turn their backs on violence or to leave an exploitative situation. This is a good example of how a public-health approach to tackling serious violence can work, demonstrating the importance of working closely with the NHS and specialist youth workers to tackle the root causes of violence and helping young people to continue on a positive path.”
Maria Kane, Chief Executive of North Middlesex University Hospital, said: “I am delighted that the Mayor is continuing his commitment to taking a public health approach to tackling violent crime by providing this additional investment in North Mid. Haringey and Enfield have the fourth and fifth highest volumes of serious youth violence in the capital with weapon possession 42 per cent higher than capital’s average, and more than 20 knife and gun fatalities involving teenagers and young people under 30 in the last 12 months.
“Working with young people and their parents, our outreach programme in local primary and secondary schools coupled with our work with Oasis to embed youth workers within our A&E so that they can provide immediate advice and support, is proving to be very successful and the increased investment will help this service go from strength to strength.”
Cat Still, Oasis youth Support Project Coordinator, said: “Oasis Youth Support helps young people, and their families, transform their lives. The young people we are seeing have often been forgotten about or let down. We see young people who are too traumatised to leave the house after being attacked in their community. We take our service to them, on their terms and help them rebuild their lives in any way we can.”
Rob Own, Chief Executive, St Giles, said: “Since 2015, we have been working in partnership with Barts NHS Trust in the Royal London Hospital’s trauma unit, helping young patients admitted as a result of serious violence. Over this time, the partnership work has reduced readmission rates from 45 per cent to 1 per cent – something we believe is down to our model of close partnership with the hospital and the utilisation of professionally trained caseworkers who come from the same backgrounds and communities as the young people they are supporting. We welcome any support from the London Mayor that will enable organisations like St Giles to further develop this work and prevent future injuries and deaths.”
John Poyton, CEO Redthread, said: “It’s been 14 years since we started the first Redthread violence intervention service in Kings College Hospital. Since then we’ve grown to work across eight sites, but sadly the need for trauma-informed youth work in London hospitals has grown too.
“Expanding provision is great news for London’s young people; more youth workers means more opportunities for teachable moments and for enabling young people to turn their lives around. We look forward to continued collaboration with Oasis UK and St Giles through the HIVE (Hospital Interrupting Violence Exchange) network, as well continuing to work alongside outstanding clinicians across the city.”
Martin Griffiths, clinical director for violence reduction in London said: “I am grateful for this investment which recognises the success of London’s Emergency Department based violence reduction programmes. As excellent examples of shared working between the NHS & Third sector, we will provide targeted support for further challenged communities involving people with lived experience and community buy-in to drive success.”