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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
  1. Elizabeth Wortley1,
  2. Ann Hagell2
  1. 1School of Public Health, Imperial College London, London, UK
  2. 2Association for Young People's Health, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Ann Hagell, Association for Young People's Health, London SE1 4YR, UK; ann{at}


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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  • Twitter @lizziewortley, @AYPHcharity

  • Contributors EW and AH jointly conceived the paper. EW undertook the literature review and collated the findings. AH undertook communication with practitioners in the field.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests Redthread provided a grant to the Association for Young People’s Health (AH) in 2017 to help document their service delivery model. Material from this is used in table 1.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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