Young gang crime victims offered lifeline to ‘escape cycle of violence’ through St George’s Hospital project

Young victims of gang crime are being offered access to a new service at St George’s Hospital which could help break the cycle of re-offending.

The Tooting hospital has become part of a £600,000 initiative that will enable youth charity Redthread to place specialist youth workers at the hospital in a dedicated major trauma centre (MTC).

Championed by Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, and the Mayor’s office for Policing and Crime, the news was announced today by Stephen Greenhalgh, the Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime.

“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,” he said.

“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.”

The initiative also encompasses other London hospitals, including King’s College, St Mary’s and Barts Health’s The Royal London.

The extra funding means that for the first time all London’s MTCs will have specialists working directly with victims of gang violence, who often suffer from 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.

Dr Heather Jarman, clinical director of major trauma at St George’s, expressed her happiness at what the MTC can offer victims.

“St George’s is delighted to be participating in this London-wide initiative,” she said.

“It 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.

“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.”

Mr Greenhalgh added: “Gang crime is falling and the police will continue to crack-down hard on gangs to keep London safe.

“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.”

Picture courtesy of Hammersmith & Fulham Council, with thanks

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