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Innovative project tackles youth violence

Published Monday, 30 November 2015

Young people who are the victims of violent crime will be automatically referred to a youth worker based at North Middlesex University Hospital accident and emergency department as part of a new project aimed at reducing serious youth violence in Enfield.

The project, which is being run in partnership by Enfield Council, Oasis UK and North Middlesex University Hospital, will refer young people to a wide range of services which can help meet their needs and encourage them to escape gang influences.

It will also give the authorities a better idea of the scale of youth violence, which is often under reported, in Enfield and help develop the skills of A&E staff so they can deal more effectively with treating both injured parties following a fight or confrontation.

Once a young person’s specific needs have been identified they are referred to departments and services such as social services, Job Centre Plus or housing.

 Enfield Council’s Cabinet Member for Community Organisations & Culture, Cllr Yasemin Brett, said: “Youth violence is a serious problem but it is one that is perpetrated by a relatively small number of people. Working together gives us an opportunity to better understand the problem we face and do something about it at a critical moment.

“This is an innovative, proportionate and sensible way of making sure vulnerable young people can access the services they really need to turn their lives around. We know that gangs and serious youth violence are issues that we need to urgently address and this is the most effective way of contacting those people who are directly affected by it.”

Oasis UK is an inclusive charity that works across the country, supporting communities so that everyone feels valued and has the opportunity to live happy and fulfilled lives.  

Oasis Youth Worker Rebekah Phillips says “While working at North Mid I have met many fantastic young people who have sadly found themselves in dangerous and difficult situations.”

“The referral of all young people who have been involved in violent crime, victims and perpetrators, ensures that each one of them has the opportunity to talk about their circumstances, and a chance for us to listen, and offer support and encouragement to realise a safe and positive future.”

The hospital has referred 224 young people from Enfield, mainly aged 14 to 17, to the OASIS youth worker during the pilot’s first year. The scheme, which celebrated its first birthday this week, is now being extended to Haringey. 

Dr Gayle Hann consultant paediatrician at North Middlesex University Hospital said: “We are delighted to have had the OASIS team based at the hospital for a year and working alongside us.

"Our busy doctors and nurses really appreciate being able to refer young people to someone who can offer practical help and support when we think the young person may have been a victim of violence or bullying. And in this way we hope we can play a part in stopping it from happening again.”

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