The West Midlands violence prevention alliance has been set up with funding from West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson, and with the support of West Midlands Police and Public Health England (PHE) in the West Midlands.
The alliance will take targeted action to prevent violence from occurring. A joint police and PHE team will work with organisations such as councils, hospitals and charities to help them to provide services that will prevent violence, using best practice and evidence of where violence takes place. As part of this, a new injury surveillance system is being set up in PHE West Midlands, to provide information about violent injuries.
A similar initiative in Cardiff saw violence related injuries at A&E drop 40% between 2002 and 2007.
An initial report of available data from between 2008 to 2009 and 2012 to 2013 in the West Midlands Police area found:
- a total of 226,125 violent offences recorded
- 48,980 attendances at A&E following an assault, with 12,793 admissions
- people aged 10 to 24 account for 43% of all victims
Dr Sue Ibbotson, director of PHE West Midlands, said:
We share a commitment with the West Midlands Directors of Public Health to reduce violence.
Violence is a public health issue; living without the fear of violence is a fundamental requirement for health and wellbeing. We can prevent violence by taking co-ordinated action where we know it will have the greatest effect.
David Jamieson, West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner, said
Over the last 5 years there have been nearly 50,000 A&E attendances following assaults in the region and nearly half of victims were aged between 10 and 24.
To break the cycle of violence affecting young people in the region I have funded this alliance. The police and health partners will work together to break the cycle of violence when victims present themselves at hospitals.
Violence blights the lives of too many people, by working together across the public and voluntary sector and targeting the root cause, we can make the West Midlands a safer place to live and work in.
David Thompson, West Midlands Police Deputy Chief Constable, said:
We are committed to tackling violence in our communities, not just when it becomes a critical issue, but where the potential for harm is identified.
We cannot do this alone. The West Midlands violence prevention alliance underlines our commitment to working in partnership with other agencies to keep our communities safe and prevent them from harm.
Adrian Phillips, Director of Public Health for Birmingham and lead on violence for the 14 West Midlands Directors of Public Health, said:
Violence prevention is a top priority of the West Midlands Directors of Public Health.
Tens of thousands of people are affected by violence each year in our area and of course the effects can be life changing. By working together across police, schools, health and other sectors we will be able to reduce the pain and long-term harm that comes from being a victim of violence.
The West Midlands violence prevention alliance is being launched with a conference on Friday 26 June 2015 at the Birmingham Rep Theatre.
People attending include West Midlands Directors of Public Health, emergency services leads, NHS commissioners, hospital A&E leads, Victim Support, Barnado’s and academics.
The event will see the publication of a joint report from PHE West Midlands and West Midlands Police that examines the available evidence on violence in this area.
Attendees will also be asked to sign up to the World Health Organization’s (WHO’s) violence prevention principles and to pledge their support to adapting their services to help prevent violence.
The new team will provide an injury surveillance system and work with bodies such as hospitals, charities and councils to recommend changes that will reduce violent injuries and their severity.
The injury surveillance system will provide information on:
- the numbers and types of violent injuries
- the groups of people at most risk
- common locations, for example in a geographical area or in particular settings such as the home or a licensed premises
- the effectiveness of action taken by police, councils, businesses and other partners to prevent violence and to reduce the severity of violence
Follow #WMViolencePrevention on Twitter for information and updates from the event.
The report ‘Protecting people and promoting healthy lives in the West Midlands’ is available online.
Information on the WHO violence prevention principles can be found online: www.who.int/violenceprevention
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