Leeds hosts UK’s first conference of specialist Accident & Emergency youth workers supporting victims of violent crime
19 May 2023
The UK’s first Accident & Emergency Navigators conference (A&E Navigators) is taking place in Leeds city centre today to unite more than 140 representatives of services and organisations working across the UK to support victims of serious youth violence.
The conference is the first opportunity for these services to come together, share what works and further develop these services for young people. Led by the Navigator team at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, the conference will be opened by Mayor of West Yorkshire, Tracy Brabin and feature high profile speakers from the NHS, World Health Organisation, WY Violence Reduction Unit, and more.
Since 2016, Navigator programmes have been established at hospitals across the UK in response to an increase in admittances resulting from serious youth violence, such as knife crime and machete assaults. Leeds Teaching Hospitals was the first NHS Trust in West Yorkshire to introduce an A&E Navigator service (in early 2021) which is funded by the West Yorkshire Violence Reduction Unit.
Working with young people aged 11-25, the service in Leeds is provided by dedicated youth workers (Navigators) based within the emergency departments at St James’s and the LGI, including Leeds Children’s Hospital. The Navigators build relationships with the young person and develop tailored plans to address the individual circumstances which have led to their admittance. Established in February 2021, the Leeds A&E Navigators have worked with more than 800 young people in the service’s first two years. In West Yorkshire, other NHS Trusts have since introduced their own Navigator services.
The inaugural conference, titled ‘Talking About What Works – Engaging Victims of Youth Violence in A&E’, will bring together 140 Navigators, medical personnel and representatives of other organisations from across the UK who all work with young victims of violence. Speakers include Mayor of West Yorkshire Tracy Brabin, Dorcas Gwata (Global Health Specialist), Nadia Butler (World Health Organisation Collaborating Centre for Violence Prevention), Hazel Gregory (Head of Safeguarding at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust), and Michael Carver (Clinical Lead for the NHS Violence Reduction Academy), among many others.
Professor Phil Wood, Chief Executive at Leeds Teaching Hospitals, said: “It is incredibly difficult to see the regularity with which young people arrive at our emergency departments and the impact on their lives from involvement in knife crime, assault with a weapon, gangs and exploitation.
“Joining together with Navigators and other professionals from across the UK will give us a valuable opportunity to discuss the impact of youth violence on the NHS and our communities and share best practise in engaging with these victims. We are proud to have led the way in planning the first ever conference of A&E Navigators and are grateful for the support of our speakers and the Mayor of West Yorkshire for helping us highlight and develop this crucial service.”
Mayor of West Yorkshire, Tracy Brabin said: “We each have an enormous responsibility to protect our young people from the harms of serious violence, but this can only be achieved by working together.
“This pioneering programme, funded by our Violence Reduction Unit, is a great example of how we are capitalising upon our combined strength.
“Events such as this are so crucial in developing the best possible services and supporting those who are often at their most vulnerable.”