Madeline Rolfe, Senior Analyst
Thursday 6 July 2023
“Children are killing children. How have we allowed this to happen?” asked Alison Lowe, West Yorkshire’s Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime. She was speaking at the National Accident and Emergency Navigators Conference, hosted by Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust. Her question was shocking, but relevant.
We met on the day that two teenagers were jailed for life for murdering 15-year-old schoolboy Khayri Mclean in Huddersfield, just 18 miles away. Khayri’s murder has changed the lives of so many young people and their families - but it was not an isolated incident.
Across England and Wales, youth violence remains a serious problem. In a recent national youth survey conducted by Crest Advisory and commissioned by the Youth Endowment Fund, 80 per cent thought violence had increased in the past year.
The conference enabled practitioners working with vulnerable young people to come together, along with researchers, to share best practice and reflect on how to tackle youth violence.
I was particularly interested to hear from Michael Carver, Clinical Lead for The Violence Reduction Academy, who described the ‘reachable moment’ when a young person with a suspicious injury comes into A&E. He said it was a key opportunity to divert vulnerable young people from violence and to help them develop a trusted relationship with a supportive professional. The Violence Reduction Academy, which was launched in June to identify, synthesise and promote evidence-based models of violence reduction in health and social care, sounds like a fantastic initiative to help to reach some of the most vulnerable people who come through A&E in London.
My own presentation at the event was on a topic of professional and personal interest, ‘Young people and Vulnerability: Reasons to Engage’. I set out the process that Crest uses to engage with vulnerable young people in our research, including examples of our work and how we sought their views on improving the criminal justice system and youth safety. I also discussed how we overcame some of the challenges we faced.
A video of the presentation will be available on Leeds Children's Hospital Television Helping children soon.