Youth workers to support patients at risk of violence at Luton and Dunstable hospital

They will support patients to move away from criminal exploitation
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Specialist youth workers are to be introduced at Luton and Dunstable hospital to offer support to patients at risk of violence and exploitation.

The Bedfordshire A&E navigators programme will work with young people aged 12 to 25 and will focus on patients who come into A&E with injuries linked to violence and exploitation, including self harm and assault injuries.

These people will be offered support to help them to move away from criminal exploitation, gangs and county lines-related activity.

Luton & Dunstable HospitalLuton & Dunstable Hospital
Luton & Dunstable Hospital

Between April 2016 and March 2021, 1,800 young people aged 10 to 24 came to Bedfordshire A&Es with assault related injuries.

Charity St Giles Trust, which runs similar schemes, will run the pilot service which is due to launch next year.

The project is being coordinated by the Office of the Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner and is funded by the Bedfordshire Violence and Exploitation Reduction Unit (VERU).PCC Festus Akinbusoye added: “Experts who work with young people will often talk about teachable moments, key points in a young person’s life where they can make important decisions about their future.

“Attendance at hospital is one of those moments. Experts from St Giles Trust will use their considerable experience and expertise to offer support and advice at a crucial moment which could help turn someone’s life around.”Felicity Cox, chief executive officer of Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes Integrated Care Board, said: “I welcome this initiative which will work with young people who have been subjected to violence, to support them in accessing mental health services, coaching and mentoring to help them move on from their experiences.”