An evaluation of a hospital-based service unique to Wales has found it to be effective in providing increased support for vulnerable patients attending hospital with violence related injuries.
Violence costs the NHS in Wales an estimated £205 million a year, and with it can bring untold costs to the individuals, families and communities who experience it. When it was established in 2019, the Violence Prevention Unit commissioned a new nurse-led intervention at the University Hospital of Wales, with the understanding that Emergency Departments have a unique opportunity to intervene early, and prevent victims of violence from being hurt again.
The evaluation of the Violence Prevention Team explores the development and implementation of the service within the Emergency Department, and the nature and level of support provided to patients with violence-related injury. The evaluation included interviews with clinical staff and other professionals, for example, police, as well as analysis of service data.
The evaluation found the Violence Prevention Team has increased support for vulnerable patients attending hospital with violence related injuries. The team has also improved the knowledge and awareness of violence amongst other professionals working in the Emergency Department, resulting in increased confidence of staff when responding to patients.
"The Violence Prevention Team at University Hospital of Wales is instrumental in our mission to prevent violence in Wales through a public health approach.
“The help the hospital team and the community support worker give patients who experience violence is second to none, and can support vulnerable children and young people to live their lives free from violence.
“The findings from this evaluation are instrumental as we upscale this intervention to help more people in Wales. Already, with funding from the Youth Endowment Fund, we have supported Morriston Hospital in Swansea to implement a Violence Prevention Team."Jon Drake, Director, Wales Violence Prevention Unit
"In Wales, for over 25 years, our approach to preventing violence has been centred on understanding why violence happens, how people became victims and how co-operation between professions and between agencies can prevent future incidents. Listening to victims is fundamental to success, complemented by clarity of purpose, a shared ambition and a real focus on cooperation. The Violence Prevention Team based at the University Hospital of Wales shows our commitment to innovation and partnership working being renewed by preventing violence in Wales through a public health approach.
"The Violence Prevention Team has directly engaged with vulnerable victims of violence within a healthcare setting, providing vital support and a pathway that leads them away from being victims of violence, enables them to make positive choices for the future and can prevent others going through the same experience.
“The Evaluation Report clearly spells out the benefit of this approach and supports the rollout of similar services across South Wales and beyond. This needs to be a normal part of tackling violence across our communities because it is integral to helping make all our communities safe, confident and resilient. I look forward to this approach becoming embedded in hospitals across Wales."Alun Michael, Police & Crime Commissioner for South Wales
Although other hospital-based interventions have been introduced throughout the UK, this service in Wales is unique as it is the first nurse-led service to provide support to children and young people involved in violence. The Violence Prevention Team model will now also be part of a formal evaluation by the Violence Research Group, Cardiff University, and other academic partners, and funded by the National Institute for Health Research, Public Health Research Board, and the Youth Endowment Fund. This evaluation will assess the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of Violence Prevention Teams.