A&E youth team to help knife victims at New Cross Hospital
Victims of violent crime admitted to hospital will be supported by a new team of youth workers stationed at Wolverhampton's emergency department, it can be revealed.
The youth workers will work alongside medics at New Cross Hospital's accident and emergency unit as part of plans to tackle the surge in violent crime sweeping the region.
It comes after crime shot up by 11 per cent across the region last year, as knife crime and other violent offences hit record levels.
West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson, who has funded the project, said: “The introduction of additional youth workers in our region’s hospitals will prove invaluable in the fight against violent crime.
“Experts describe the moment when a person has been seriously injured and is lying in a hospital bed as as a ‘teachable moment’ and a time when that person is more likely to be open to help and support."
The new team will work alongside medics to identify young people aged 25 and under at risk of getting caught up in a cycle of violence.
Hospital staff will alert youth workers to victims of serious violence, sexual violence or abuse when they are brought into A&E before offering them "tailored support".
The youth workers have been recruited by St Giles Trust after it was commissioned to deliver the programme over the next 12 months.
The organisation, which is working with the West Midlands Violence Prevention Alliance, has pledged to support both victims and perpetrators of violent crime.
Steve Clarke, spokesman for the St Giles Trust, said: “It is well documented that violence amongst young people is a serious issue and an issue we need to tackle.
“Our service in A&E departments will give us an opportunity to engage with those individuals in their hour of need and our youth workers will be on hand to offer tailored support to lead them away from the violence that caused them to end up in hospital.”
Funding for the programme could be extended if the scheme is successful.
Youth workers are already working in A&E departments at Birmingham's Queen Elizabeth Hospital and Heartlands Hospital as part of similar project with Mr Jamieson and charity Redthread.