Gang violence programme praised by Home Office minister
28 March 2018
Victoria Atkins MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Crime, Safeguarding and Vulnerability, visited St Mary’s Hospital yesterday to find out more about the Youth Violence Intervention Programme.
The project was set up in 2014 as a partnership between Imperial Health Charity and Redthread to help tackle the growing problem of youth and gang violence in London.
Specialist youth workers are embedded in the hospital’s A&E department and intervene when at-risk young people are admitted, many of whom have been shot or stabbed.
Atkins toured the Emergency Department and Major Trauma Ward alongside Nick Hurd, Minister of State for Policing and the Fire Service, praising the staff working on the frontlines to help break the cycle of violence.
She said: “We know that if you engage with young people early, it is possible to guide them away from a life of crime. It was both humbling and inspiring to meet the remarkable people transforming lives in this hospital.”
Every year hundreds of young victims of violence are treated in Major Trauma Centre and the programme seizes on this ‘teachable moment’ as a perfect opportunity to intervene and support them in turning their lives around.
Dr Asif Rahman, a consultant in emergency medicine, said: “It’s made a huge difference to our department and staff, making them more aware of young people, their needs and how to manage them.”
“Knowing that there’s a group of youth workers who are here in the hospital seven days a week who can come and explain to the patient, help them through what’s often quite a difficult journey has been really helpful. Staff have given feedback that they feel more comfortable working with young people so it’s always been a positive thing.”
The charity supported Redthread as part of its Major Trauma Centre Appeal, which raised almost £1 million for the department, with 100% of the money going towards improving patient care.
Dr Rahman said: “Since the very beginning the charity has been there when we decided we needed something important in this hospital. Their support has helped us get funding, which was really important for the service”.
To find out more about Redthread’s Youth Violence Intervention Programme, visit their website.