A violence reduction project embedding youth workers in Accident and Emergency departments has launched at Salford Royal.
‘GM Navigator’ is a youth-focused project based in hospitals alongside dedicated clinical leads to support vulnerable young people aged 10 to 25 who are admitted to Emergency Departments because of violence.
They will work with the young person for up to six weeks, helping them to access local support networks and prevent further violence.
The project has been commissioned by the Greater Manchester Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) and being delivered by the Oasis charity.
Royal Bolton Hospital, Salford Royal, Manchester Royal Infirmary and Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital are involved in the 12-month pilot and researchers at Manchester Metropolitan University will evaluate the service.
The youth workers will be in the department at various times of the day and will proactively seek out young people who have attended with a violence-related injury.
Nathan Griffiths, Consultant Nurse in Paediatric Emergency Medicine, said: “This is a project attempting to address some of the underlying causes that lead to a young person being involved in escalating violence which can often be out of the reach of hospital-based health care professionals and prevent future episodes of violence.”
Around 25% of young people attending with low level injuries return within the following five years with major injuries. This intervention service is hoping to reduce this number and has been shown to be successful in other areas of the country.
Greater Manchester’s Serious Violence Action Plan, which launched in June 2020, highlighted that from 2015 to 2018, knife crime in the city-region almost doubled and admissions to Greater Manchester hospitals with injuries caused by weapons involved in incidents of violent crime also increased during the same period.
However, the most recent available data suggests a decrease of 16% for all age knife-related hospital admissions between April 2018 and March 2020. In addition, there were nearly 1,000 attendances at Greater Manchester A&E departments from under 18s as a result of assault, including nearly 90 as a result of assault with a knife for the same period.
In 2020, there were nearly 9,500 victims of violence or robbery aged under 18 reported to Greater Manchester Police (GMP).
The Oasis charity was chosen to deliver the GM Navigator project based on its wide experience of youth work and violence reduction in London and Bristol.