A pioneering new service supporting young people who are treated for assault injuries, including stab wounds, in hospital has been launched to tackle youth violence.
Leicestershire’s new Violence Reduction Network (VRN) – a multi-agency partnership dedicated to reducing youth violence across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland – has invested more than £85,000 into the Violence Intervention Project (VIP), which will support young people at greatest risk of violence and knife crime.
The project, which is being delivered by social and health care services provider Turning Point, is based in the Emergency Department at Leicester Royal Infirmary (LRI) and will offer support and mentorship to young people who have been admitted after sustaining stab wounds or other injuries from violence.
Specially-trained VIP workers, some of whom have lived experience the issues faced by the young people, will offer personal support to victims at a “reachable moment”, when they may be feeling vulnerable and are more likely to accept help.
The service will run seven days a week between 9am and 7pm and will support young people to think about how they can make good choices and decisions to change their futures and ensure they stay safe, connecting them with a wealth of support services and advocating on their behalf.
Grace Strong, Director of Leicestershire’s VRN, said: “This project provides support to young victims at a critical point where they have experienced trauma and are feeling fearful for their future safety. It is in this moment that young people are more receptive to changing aspects of their lives and accept help.
“Our youth workers have personal experiences of the issues affecting victims of violence and are in the best position to deliver support. This project is about giving young people a choice and supporting them to break away from lifestyles where violence is more likely. It depends on a relationship of trust, rapport and understanding which are vital for the young person’s engagement with the project.
“Similar A & E-based interventions have already made a difference in hospitals in London and Nottingham and many young people have been successfully diverted from further violence as a result. By working within this window of opportunity, we hope to reach many more young victims and offer them a route out of their problems when they most desperately need it.”
Sarah Hancock-Smith, senior operations manager at Turning Point, said: “When anyone is suffering from any trauma they need support and guidance on how they will get through it, particularly one where violence is involved, there is serious injury, memories of the attack and potential further attacks.
“Turning Point’s team in the hospital are supporting young people at a critical point where they can make a real difference to help them move away from violence and towards more positive activities in their lives. Many of the Turning Point team have been selected due to their own personal experience and credibility they can bring, which alongside robust training, places them in a unique position to engage these vulnerable young people.”
Lord Willy Bach, PCC, added: “Improving how we manage and care for young victims of violence at a time of crisis is vital if we are to ensure these same young people never experience or perpetuate violence again.
“This project reaches victims at a critical cross-road and can act as a catalyst for long-term change. For some, giving consent to the programme represents the first major breakthrough and we must seize this opportunity to make a difference.”
The VIP team comprises four youth workers and a senior whose task will be to engage with every young person aged 11-25 attending the hospital’s Emergency Department as a victim of knife crime or other violence-related injury.
The team will work alongside clinicians and other specialist workers such as mental health specialists, substance misuse workers and Independent Domestic Violence Advocates to offer support on a voluntary basis, engaging with young people when they are most susceptible to advice and support.
Where possible, they will engage patients’ in-situ and victims will be supported by the same key worker while they are in hospital and following discharge, where they will continue to receive mentorship, help and advice to make long-term positive plans including appropriate referrals to community services.
Young people who engage with the programme will also be risk assessed by their allocated VIP worker which will form the basis of a safety plan outlining what work is required to reduce the risk of future violence or exploitation.
Notes to editors:
For further information on Turning Point please contact Gemma Bruce, head of external affairs, Turning Point T: 020 7481 7632 M: 07976 842 249 firstname.lastname@example.org. www.turning-point.co.uk.
Turning Point is a social enterprise which has over 50 years’ experience of providing support for people affected by drug and alcohol misuse, mental health conditions, offending behaviours, unemployment and health and wellbeing social issues and people with a learning disability to discover new possibilities in their lives. For more information, please visit www.turning-point.co.uk
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