Sadiq Khan has pledged £4 million to fund more youth workers in Accident and Emergency (A&E) rooms across the capital, in a bid to tackle serious youth violence.
The Mayor believes there is a “teachable moment” when young people are admitted to hospital with minor injuries from fights, and youth workers can help to prevent more serious attacks in future.
The cash pledge comes after a weekend of violence in London saw three fatal knife attacks in just four days.
A twenty-year-old man was killed in Bexley yesterday, and two teenagers were stabbed to death within hours of each other in Stratford and Camberwell on Thursday.
More than 20 young people have been killed in the capital in 2019 – and there were almost 8,000 victims of serious youth violence last year, according to police data.
The Mayor’s new funding will target areas where youngsters face the highest risk of violence.
Youth workers will be based for the first time at Newham General Hospital, The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Woolwich, Croydon University Hospital, University Hospital Lewisham and Haringey and Islington’s Whittington Hospital.
The Mayor will also fund a 25 per cent increase in youth workers at London’s four Major Trauma Centres – King’s College Hospital in Camberwell, Royal London in Whitechapel, St George’s in Tooting, and St Mary’s in Paddington.
Last year, youth workers in hospitals identified more than 1,000 young people at risk – 432 accepted help from youth workers, including 52 children not previously known to support services.
The Mayor said his new funding would help stem the violence on London’s streets, as part of his public health approach.
Speaking at North Middlesex A&E today (Monday), he said: “It is a tragedy that our city is being robbed of young people with so much potential and it is vital we do all we can to help them move away from a life of violence.
“Embedding youth workers in hospitals has already made a profound difference to the lives of some of the most vulnerable young Londoners, reaching them at a crucial junction in their lives and helping them choose a different path away from violence.
“This is why I am investing record amounts to significantly expand this work and introduce specialist youth workers to more A&E departments.”