Our Youth Violence Intervention Programme runs in hospital emergency departments in partnership with the major trauma network. There, our innovative service aims to reduce serious youth violence, and has revolutionised the support available to young victims of violence.
Every year thousands of young people aged 11 – 24 come through hospital doors as victims of assault and exploitation. It is then, at this time of crisis, that our youth workers utilise their unique position embedded in the emergency departments alongside clinical staff to engage these young victims.
Our extensive experience tells us that this moment of vulnerability, when young people are out of their comfort zone, alienated from their peers, and often coming to terms with the effects of injury, is a time of change – we call it the ‘Teachable Moment’. In this moment many are more able than ever to question what behaviour and choices have led them to this hospital bed and, with specialist youth worker support, pursue change they haven’t felt able to before.
We focus on this moment and encourage and support young people in making healthy choices and positive plans to disrupt the cruel cycle of violence that can too easily lead to re-attendance, re-injury, and devastated communities.
King’s College Hospital
Redthread’s Youth Violence Intervention Programme began over ten years ago in partnership with King’s College Hospital in Lambeth, the MTC for South East London, Kent and Medway, where the programme is now run by five full-time members of staff. King’s commitment to the community it serves, alongside their belief and enthusiasm in the core messages of Redthread’s philosophy has been central to the Programme’s success and development. Here’s to the next ten years!
St Mary’s Hospital
In October 2014, St Mary’s became the second hospital to join our programme. By opening its doors to us the Major Trauma Centre, which covers the North West quadrant of London, has made it possible for us to reach out to hundreds more vulnerable young people through the Teachable Moment every year, and steered Redthread into becoming a pan-London organisation.
St George’s Hospital
The programme was rolled out at St George’s Hospital in April 2015. Staff and patients alike have been quick to take to Redthread and the programme, and our youth workers were greeted with great enthusiasm and support from day one. Located in Tooting, St George’s is the MTC for South West London and is perfectly placed to collaborate with the team at King’s, and to make use of the variety of services our Well Centre can offer young people.
The Royal London
The Royal London is the MTC which covers the North East quadrant of London and, since April 2015, has hosted the Youth Violence Intervention Programme in partnership with St Giles Trust.
Homerton University Hospital
We know that young people attend their local A&E four or five times before attending a Major Trauma Centre. We hope that through our service to Homerton University Hospital, a local A&E department, we will be able to meet young people earlier and before they reach crisis point.
As of February 2018 our Youth Violence Intervention Programme launched in Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham. QMC hosts the East Midlands Major Trauma Centre and was opened in 2012.
In July 2018 we launched in two hospitals in Birmingham – Queen Elizabeth Hospital and Heartlands Hospital.
Both Nottingham and Birmingham are part of a three year Midlands pilot.
On any day, across King’s College Hospital sites, around 20 adult beds are occupied by young people aged 16 to 25. These young people have specific medical, emotional, legal and social needs. The KAOS team will help support the medical and surgical teams on adult wards to care for young people in an age appropriate way.
The KAOS service started in 2018 and was initially comprised of a core team of two lead clinicians and a youth worker. The core team draw on the expertise of a wider team of over thirty health care professionals from different backgrounds, all with an interest in optimising care for young people. These include trauma surgeons, doctors with an expertise in children/adolescents, women’s health doctors, specialist nurses, sexual health professionals and other medical specialists. Since its launch in 2018 the service has grown to facilitate support for a wider age range with the addition of a further youth worker.
What does KAOS support look like?
The support offered by KAOS is different for every young person admitted to the hospital and personal to their situation; it is moulded around their health needs and wider goals. Listening and providing a non-judgemental, safe space is at the core of what the service does. The KAOS youth workers make an initial visit to the young person at their bed-side on the ward and engage them in a broad health-based conversation. This can touch on various issues, such as: mental and sexual health, alcohol and drugs, diet, sleep, nutrition, social media and safety. Depending on the length of admission, the youth workers will continue to visit them, working with their families and the medical team to support their immediate care and path to recovery and discharge.
Who’s behind KAOS?
The KAOS team consists of four core members; Dr Hannah Baynes, Dr Simon Chapman, Chris Evans and Zahra Sarwar, both Redthread youth workers. The team is also supported by over 30 professionals across the King’s College Hospital site, representing a breadth of professions and specialities. Each day, the team will identify adolescent patients across the hospital, meet with these patients and work with their medical and surgical teams to ensure that their needs are being met not only physically, but also emotionally and socially.
The service is part of King’s College Hospital’s wider vision to become a young person friendly hospital by improving the suitability, accessibility, quality and safety of services for young people. You can get in touch with Hannah, Simon, Chris or Zahra on: kch-tr.KAOSReferrals@nhs.net
Amy had a rare gastrointestinal condition and was admitted to King’s to undergo several bowel procedures. A KAOS Youth Worker initially spoke to Amy over the phone, when the team were still working remotely. This support appeared to initially help Amy build up a trust and rapport with the Youth Worker, as she reported quite acute social anxiety when meeting new people face to face. The first few calls allowed Amy to express her worries about her physical health along with plans for the future. They provided her with a space to begin separating her different anxieties and factors influencing her mood. With the prospect of further investigations and uncertainty during her admission, the calls were also a chance for Amy to discuss relaxation techniques that she could utilise when going for scans. During this time, Amy also informed the Youth Worker that she had been waiting for a referral to be processed by CAMHS in her local area. The Youth Worker contacted this team and was able to update them on Amy’s current mood and concerns, and to ascertain when Amy’s support would begin.
When Amy was discharged, the KAOS Youth Worker continued to support Amy over a series of 4-6 sessions over the phone. During these calls, Amy and the Youth Worker explored goals that she felt could benefit her physical, social and mental health. As such, together they developed strategies that could help Amy’s sleep and eating pattern. Both factors Amy had wanted to work on for some time, but only now did she feel the strength and motivation to do so with the support of the KAOS team.
*Name and identifiable features have been changed.
The Hospital-based Interrupting Violence Exchange is a national network, founded and coordinated by Redthread. It is designed to help existing and emerging hospital-based violence intervention programmes share ideas and insights.
Through HIVE, we have hosted teleconferences for practitioners from different projects and different parts of the UK to talk through the opportunities and challenges posed by the unique model. We also hold an annual symposium, where all those working on the model get together to discuss the latest developments. In 2020, we hosted a series of webinars and networking events which will continue into 2021.
If you would like to learn more about HIVE, please get in touch!