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Young victims of youth violence: using youth workers in the emergency department to facilitate ‘teachable moments’ and to improve access to services


There have been rising concerns in the UK about the levels of serious violence between young people, especially serious physical violence and knife crime. Interactions with young people in the emergency department (ED) at the time of injury provide an opportunity for screening and intervention in order to reduce the risk of repeat attendances. However, paediatricians and other healthcare workers can feel unsure about the best way to intervene. Embedding youth workers in EDs has started in some UK hospitals, making use of a potential ‘teachable moment’ in the immediate aftermath of an event to help change behaviour. Based on a rapid review of the literature, we summarise the evidence for these types of interventions and present two practice examples. Finally, we discuss how EDs could approach the embedding of youth workers within their department and considerations required for this.

  • accident & emergency
  • adolescent health
  • general paediatrics
  • health services research
  • multidisciplinary team care
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