Objectives The female perspective must be considered in youth violence work to ensure a gendered approach when shaping policy and developing violence reduction intervention programmes that support girls and young women. Increasing numbers of girls and young women presenting to Emergency Departments (ED) have experienced violence- and exploitation-related issues. The risk of violence and exploitation for girls and young women is poorly identified by professionals in healthcare settings and there are a lack of screening tools to assist in assessing this risk. We have developed the VIOLENCE tool (table 1) to provide a structured framework for identifying risk of violence and exploitation for girls and young women and have conducted a scoping study to assess the feasibility of piloting this tool within the ED as part of a wider project to validate its use.
Our objectives included
To understand the relevance and importance of the VIOLENCE tool components to professionals working within acute medical settings
To understand ED-based professionals’ level of experience and training in assessing risk of violence and exploitation in girls and young women
Methods An electronic questionnaire was delivered to professionals with experience in working with girls and young women in the ED settings from Imperial Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, Evelina Children’s Hospital London, Oasis Youth Service and Red Thread between March-May 2022. The questionnaire asked about experience and training around assessing violence and exploitation, and views on the VIOLENCE tool components. Results were collated anonymously and analysed using descriptive statistics.
Results 50 professionals completed the questionnaire study. 98% identified discussing issues relating to violence for girls and young women as important, with 86% identifying that females have different risk factors compared to males.
88% of respondents agreed that a formal assessment tool or proforma would be useful in their practice. The majority of respondents agreed that the VIOLENCE tool components were relevant to the assessment on violence for girls and young women (table 1).
Only 58% of respondents felt confident asking about violence and exploitation, with the majority (82%) of respondents highlighting that they had no access to training in issues relating to violence for girls and young women. Almost all (92%) respondents agreed that there was a need for further training and education initiatives.
Conclusions The study demonstrates that the VIOLENCE tool is perceived as relevant and beneficial. The study supports feasibility in piloting the tool for girls and young women as part of their emergency care. Further multicentre studies are required to assess the applicability and generalisability of our findings at a national level.
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