Issue 6-04

In-Touch Edition 11

Welcome to the April edition of the London Violence Reduction Programme newsletter. Earlier this month we celebrated Easter and Eid, and we have also moved into a new financial year in the NHS. There are few times in the year when reflection is so timely.

I was greatly saddened by the death of my friend and colleague, Richard Taylor. Richard’s son, Damilola was murdered in Peckham in November 2000 at the age of ten, by two children barely older than him. Richard established the Damilola Taylor Trust in his memory and was a tireless advocate to improve the lives of the disadvantaged young people who lived around him. Although he lost his son, he never lost the hope that he could create a better future for young Londoners. I can think of no finer legacy for him and Damilola.

In this issue, Dr Clare Bingham has written a blog on the progress of the London Vanguard, which highlights the progress of this transformative model of mental health support. The recent NHS England national annual reviews will support us to continue to embed sustainability as the programme moves forward.

Last month I chaired the Royal College of Emergency Medicine conference on the updated ISTV guidance, and I was impressed by the commitment of all stakeholders to ensuring that transparent data sharing around injury is entrenched in emergency departments. Michael Cheetham’s article looks at how this data drives health-based violence reduction in practice. This desire to place prevention at the heart of violence reduction work is something that I see reflected in the wider health community.

I am increasing my time commitment to the NHS London programme to support the expansion of our activities and impact. We are making huge progress however we have much to do to ensure that our collective ideas become sustainable activity.

Martin Griffiths CBE, Clinical Director, London Violence Reduction

NHS Violence Reduction Academy Update

The NHS Violence Reduction Academy has been busy planning for the new financial year ahead. Since our launch last summer, we have been working with our partners to mobilise and have:

  • Led by Queen Mary University of London, undertaken a review of published literature and shared a formal Call for Evidence investigating the prevention of violence against young people with an emphasis on health-related interventions. The final report is expected to be published in Autumn 2024.
  • Identified further areas with a gap in the evidence base and we are currently considering how these gaps can be addressed through future Academy research.
  • Held our first Special Advisory Group (SAG) meeting in collaboration with Queen Mary University of London. The SAG is comprised of 16 specialist experts and has been developed to provide insight and oversight to the Academy’s deliverables.
  • Hosted the first Violence Reduction Academy learning event – An Introduction to a Health Based Approach to Reducing Violence in Communities – which was attended by over 200 stakeholders across the health and care system. The recording of this event can be found on our website using the button below.
  • Launched an initial version of our website containing information and resources. We are excited to be looking at redesigning the website and look forward to relaunching this summer.
  • Conducted a scoping review of violence across London’s Young Offender Institutions (YOIs) and developed recommendations for improving the health and wellbeing of young residents. We are currently working in partnership with MOPAC’s Prison Violence Reduction Strategy to co-commission new programmes in HMP Feltham YOI.
  • Engaged with a range of critical organisations and professionals through presentations, events and networking opportunities, supporting the sharing of best practice and generating further interest in the Academy.

We have an exciting year ahead planned and look forward to sharing more updates with you in the coming months. We are always interested in exploring partnership opportunities so please don’t hesitate to reach out to the Academy programme team if you would like to talk to us –  

New guidance on collecting data on violence

Do you work in an emergency department? The Royal College of Emergency Medicine has published new guidelines on how emergency departments collect data on assault victims. Collecting this data, known as Information Sharing to Tackle Violence (ISTV) data, is vital to supporting violence reduction. 

This data helps us to understand the nature and prevalence of violence in local communities. Many victims of assault don’t report their assault to the police. However, they may often need medical treatment. As a result, health services – and urgent and emergency care in particular – have a unique view of violence in local communities. Effective collection and use of ISTV data has the potential to reduce violence related injuries by up to a third. 

Michael Cheetham, National Violence Reduction Data Manager, tells us more.

Dr Clare Bingham: London Vanguards progress

Dr Clare Bingham, Clinical Lead for Mental Health, has written a blog on the progress of the London Vanguard programme. She writes: 

“When I joined the Violence Reduction Programme, the three London Vanguards were in the early stages of mobilisation. They are now delivering a community multi-system model for children and young people impacted by violence. 

“Recently, I have been fortunate to visit each of the three London Vanguards. I was struck by the passion and energy of the people offering the services – from the service managers to the clinical teams to the voluntary, community, faith and social enterprise partners. It is clear that a huge amount has been accomplished in a very short period of time.”

In conversation with: Sanchez Smith

This month, we spoke to Sanchez Smith, a Caseworker at St Giles Trust working on the London Vanguard project in north central London. This NHS-funded project was set up as part of the work of the London Violence Reduction Programme. Case workers like Sanchez act as key advocates for young people impacted by violence, providing vital mental health and wellbeing support.

Sanchez is passionate about his work, and told us about how he and the rest of the project team at St Giles are working with young people, drawing on personal experiences to build trusted relationships and provide support that is both wanted and needed.

In the media: Investigating knife crime

London Violence Reduction Programme Clinical Director, Martin Griffiths, recently featured in an Evening Standard Magazine special investigation into knife crime in London. 

In this special edition, published on 28 March 2024, Martin spoke about his role as Lead Trauma Surgeon at The Royal London Hospital, his work with St Giles Trust to reduce re-admittance, and his role as London’s first NHS clinical director for violence reduction. 

Remembering Stephen Lawrence

Monday 22nd April 2024 marked 31 years since the racially motivated murder of Stephen Lawrence. Stephen Lawrence Day, formally established in 2018, is an opportunity for people, communities and organisations to come together to honour Stephen’s life and legacy.

The theme for Stephen Lawrence Day 2024 was ‘The Power of Learning’ – focusing on the inspiring the next generation with knowledge that goes beyond traditional educational norms. To find out more about Stephen’s story and the ongoing work of the Stephen Lawrence Foundation to foster opportunities for marginalised young people in the UK, visit the Stephen Lawrence Day website.

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