St George’s to create a new specialist youth service for victims of gang-related violence
St George’s will be one of the major trauma centres (MTC) to host specialist youth workers dealing directly with young victims of gang crime, it was announced today. The youth workers will be placed in every MTC to support victims and reduce youth violence in London under the major expansion of a ground-breaking project.
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has made increasing victim services for young people a priority and working through the Mayor’s Office for Policing And Crime (MOPAC), the £600,000 initiative announced today will enable Redthread, a youth charity, to put specialist youth workers into all four MTCs in London – St George’s, King’s College, St Mary’s and Barts Health’s The Royal London.
The scheme was first developed at King’s but the additional MOPAC funding means that for the first time, all London’s MTC’s will have specialists working directly with victims of gang violence being treated at the hospital. The initiative was announced today by the Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime, Stephen Greenhalgh, on a visit to King’s College Hospital’s major trauma centre.
New figures out today show that last year the number of gang offences in London fell by almost 20 per cent. MOPAC’s ‘Gangs Dashboard’, an online database of statistics, shows that there were a total of 5,977 serious youth violence offences in 2014, down 13 per cent compared to the baseline of March 2012. Many services exist for young people convicted of a gang related crime but few offer support to young gang members who are also victims of violence, many of whom suffer long-term mental health trauma as a result of their experiences.
Engaging with young victims of gang crime at the critical moment of hospital admittance is proven to increase the chances of them leaving their violent lifestyle behind and help break the cycle of reoffending. Young girls and women who have been sexually exploited and abused by gangs, or coerced into participating in criminal activity, will also be provided with specialist support.
St George’s and The Royal London will use the funding to create a new specialist youth service while St Mary’s and King’s will expand their existing services.
Dr Heather Jarman, clinical director of major trauma at St George’s said, “St George’s is delighted to be participating this London-wide initiative that will build on the existing work in the Major Trauma Centres in assisting young victims of crime and sexual exploitation.
“The Major Trauma Centre is committed to developing this specialist service for vulnerable children and young people, and working with Redthread to embed youth workers in the Trust will enable us to identify and begin to support this group at the point at which they present to the hospital which is often the only opportunity they have to engage with these services”
Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime, Stephen Greenhalgh said, “Gang crime is falling and the police will continue to crack-down hard on gangs to keep London safe. But we know that stopping gang violence is about more than just policing – we also have to help those who want to exit gangs and leave violence behind.
“Working in collaboration with the NHS and the criminal justice system, this vital service will offer young victims of violent crime close personal support in their hour of need. Supporting these young people who are stabbed or shot from the moment they arrive in hospital is part of our comprehensive plan to combat gang crime in our capital city.”
The announcement comes on the same day as the release of MOPAC’s latest online dashboard on gang crime. Part of the Mayor’s ongoing commitment to make police data more accessible this series of dashboards takes raw data already available on other sites and transforms it into an easy to understand format for the public and media to access in one place.
To view the gang’s dashboard visit https://www.london.gov.uk/priorities/policing-crime/data-information/gangs-dashboard