The West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner is to put youth workers in Coventry and Wolverhampton Accident and Emergency departments in a bid to tackle violent crime.
David Jamieson says the new team will work alongside clinical staff to identify those who might be caught up in a cycle of violence.
The initiative will offer tailored support for people aged 25 and under. Medical staff will alert the youth workers to victims of serious youth violence, sexual violence or abuse who are admitted to hospital.
The PCC has already placed youth workers in Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth hospital and Heartlands via the charity Redthread. The time though, the new youth workers have been recruited by the St Giles Trust. The organisation was commissioned to carry out the work for an initial 12 month period by the PCC backed Violence Prevention Alliance. If the scheme is deemed to be successful then funding could be extended.
Knife crime in the region has risen 85% since 2012, with the Commissioner describing the surge in violent crime as a ‘national emergency’.
The St Giles Trust will support young people to help keep them away from violence or exploitation, either as a victim or a perpetrator.
The West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner, David Jamieson, 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 a ‘teachable moment’ and a time when that person is more likely to be open to help and support.
“Placing youth workers in accident and emergency units is just one of the many ways I am working to reduce the number of deaths from violent crime and breaking the cycle of re-offending.”
Youth Workers are now stationed at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and Heartlands Hospital in Birmingham, New Cross Hospital in Wolverhampton and University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire in Coventry.
Steve Clarke, a spokesperson 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.”
Redthread and the St Giles Trust are working in collaboration with the West Midlands Violence Prevention Alliance which consists of West Midlands Police, Public Health England, West Midlands Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner, NHS, Education representatives and local authorities.
This group of organisations is committed to working together to prevent violence.