Knife crime: 1,000 young victims hospitalised last year

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Media captionPC Rob Pedley: “You’re carrying the county’s number one murder weapon”

More than 1,000 10 to 19-year-olds were admitted to hospital with knife wounds in 2017/18.


The figure, from NHS England, reveal a 54% rise in the number of children and teenagers treated for injuries from knives over five years.

It comes as a leading consultant warns that she is seeing increasing numbers of girls involved in knife crime.

Doctors also said that injuries were becoming more severe and victims getting younger.

‘Severe injuries are the norm’

The figures record the number of people admitted to hospital for an overnight stay or longer, for knife crime injuries between 2012-13 and 2017-18.

Among victims aged between 10 and 19, the numbers went up from 656 to 1,012 last year. Admissions have also grown by 30% across all ages, from 3,849 in 2012-13, to 4,986 last year.

Doctors said the numbers could be even higher, as victims who received treatment in A&E for minor knife crime injuries were not recorded.

Dr Martin Griffiths, consultant trauma surgeon at The Royal London Hospital, said: “We are seeing a lot more adolescents and young people with severe injuries. That used to be an occasional occurrence, now it is the norm.

“This week I expect to see someone of school age as a matter of course.

“I see the wasted opportunities of young people stuck on hospital wards with life-changing injuries.”

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Media captionKnife crime: What’s it like to be stabbed?

‘Filming attacks’

Dr Gayle Hann, the lead for paediatric A&E at North Middlesex Hospital, pointed to the rising numbers of girls becoming involved.

“It used to be that we rarely saw girls and young women, but now we are seeing increasing numbers as both victims and aggressors.

“Young women are coming in who have had their mobile phones taken off them in an attack, then had their attack filmed as part of their humiliation.

“They are then told that if they say anything their attackers will put the video on the internet.”

Dr Hann said knives are also getting bigger: “I used to take kitchen knives off people, now we are seeing zombie knives.”

‘Care in the community’

Patrick Green, chief executive of the Ben Kinsella Trust, a charity which campaigns against knife crime, said: “This is a crisis. Many young people see no other alternative for them than to carry knives in their environment.

“Youth workers in hospitals who are providing ongoing support to young people are making a big difference.

“But we need to prevent them getting there in the first place, and educate them to make better choices.”

Dr Griffiths said the Royal London Hospital had done work with the charity St Giles Trust to reduce the numbers of young victims of knife attacks returning to hospital with further injuries.

“We’ve dramatically reduced readmissions by giving our victims of injury a case worker who will meet them in the hospital, and give them a further six months of bespoke care in the community” he said.

“The best results are obtained by consistent, nurturing bonds.

“Knife violence is endemic. We all have a responsibility to engage with supporting youth to address this.”

In January, Home Secretary Sajid Javid announced new knife crime prevention orders which can be issued by police to anyone aged 12 or over who is believed to be carrying a blade.

The Asbo-style orders would give police more power to impose curfews, send young people caught with knives to educational courses and – in some cases – restrict their social media use to prevent rival disputes escalating.



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