Purpose – Youth violence victimisation impacts on health, mental health and future risk trajectories. A London hospital emergency department (ED) outreach youth service provides a unique intervention opportunity to support adolescents involved in violence. The purpose of this paper is to describe the set‐up of the service. Design/methodology/approach – Young people (YP) targeted were aged 12‐18, from two London boroughs and attended ED with injuries from a violent incident. They were referred to Oasis youth workers for a mentoring/youth work intervention. Lifestyle and symptom scales were used to assess risk profile. Hospital staff questionnaires determined service awareness in the first six months, and interviews/focus group identified potential barriers to service uptake. Findings – By 12 months, the service was operating smoothly. Of the first 505 YP attending ED, a third were referred, a third ineligible and a third non‐contactable/refused. Detailed analysis of the first 30 attending found most were male (87 per cent), equal White or Black ethnicity (40 per cent) with 20 per cent “Other” ethnicities, with only a third living with both biological parents. This was similar to the full population attending. Nearly half (49 per cent) had been assaulted, 30 per cent had injuries self‐generated through poor anger management, the remainder injured in fighting. Over half (57 per cent) had disorder, mostly behavioural, correlated with lifestyle risk scores. Barriers to service use/implementation included YP mistrust and fear of reprisals, problems with service visibility in the busy hospital environment and ineffective staff communication with YP, all countered during the running of the service. Gauging outcome at follow‐up is the second evaluation stage. Originality/value – The youth violence project is an important initiative for intervention in youth violence.
Journal of Public Mental Health – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jun 21, 2013
Keywords: Youth violence; Emergency departments; Youth work intervention; Behavioural disorder; Evaluation; Youth; Violence