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Young people most likely to be stabbed on way home from school

PUBLISHED: 07:46 07 November 2018

Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel. Picture: Mike Brooke

Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel. Picture: Mike Brooke

Mike Brooke

Young people are most likely to be stabbed on their way home from school.

Karim Brohi. Picture: Todd Buchanan/Barts HealthKarim Brohi. Picture: Todd Buchanan/Barts Health

That’s the conclusion from doctors at the Royal London Hospital, who have analysed the 1,824 patients under 25 to be treated for stab wounds at the Whitechapel hospital’s major trauma centre across a 10 year period.

Working in partnership with Queen Mary University of London, the research - published in the British Medical Journal - found that the frequency of attacks on children under 16 spiked between 4pm and 6pm on school days.

The study found that 47 per cent of stab injuries to under 16s happened within a one to five mile radius from their home - the average distance a child travels to school in London.

Karim Brohi, a consultant trauma surgeon and professor of trauma sciences at Queen Mary University, said: “This work shows that children and young people in London are at risk by simply due to where they live and go to school.

“A long-term multi-agency and community approach is needed if we are to change the culture of violence that now permeates deprive areas of London.

“Public health approaches to violence, such as with this study, can show who is at risk and allow the community and police to respond effectively - such as through after school activities and targeted policing.”

The report also shows that children have a higher risk of death to young adults even when injuries are comparable.

It comes amid a sharp increase in the number of knfe crimes in the UK, with Office of National Statistics data from last month revealing there were 14,987 knife crimes recorded in the year to June 2018 - a 15 per cent rise in just 12 months.

The doctors involved in the study are now calling for action, saying the findings present an opportunity for targeted violence reduction strategies.

Paul Vulliamy, surgical registrar and clinical lecturer at Queen Mary University, added: “We have demonstrated that there are age-specific epidemiological patterns of stabbings among young people, providing evidence for schools and children as specific targets for violence reduction strategies.

“We can reduce knife violence and unnecessary child deaths, but need long term evidence-based interventions in education, policing, the community and at home.”

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