The West Midlands Violence Prevention Alliance is being launched with a conference on Friday, 26 June, at the Birmingham Rep Theatre.
People attending include local authority Directors of Public Health, emergency services leads, NHS commissioners, hospital A&E leads, Victim Support, Barnardo’s and academics.
The event will see the publication of a joint report from Public Health England 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 violence prevention principles and to pledge their support to adapting their services to help prevent violence.
The West Midlands Violence Prevention Alliance has been set up using funding from West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson and with the support of West Midlands Police and Public Health England (PHE) West Midlands.
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.
A new injury surveillance system is being set up in PHE to provide information about violent injuries to the joint team.
A similar initiative in Cardiff saw violence related injuries at A&E drop 40% between 2002 and 2007[i].
An initial report of available data from 2008/09 to 2012/13 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 10-24 account for 43% of all victims
David Jamieson, West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner, said: “Over the last five 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 sector and targeting the root cause we can make the West Midlands a safer place to live and work in.”
Dr Sue Ibbotson, PHE West Midlands Centre Director, 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 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 Philips, Birmingham City Council Director of Public Health 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.”