Evaluating a youth violence intervention programme

An evaluation of the implementation, effectiveness and cost effectiveness of a youth violence intervention programme for vulnerable young people attending Emergency Departments in London.


Published: 01/11/2020

Project status: Ongoing

This is a RSET project (Rapid Service Evaluation Team), a collaboration between the Nuffield Trust and UCL and funded by NIHR.

There are rising levels of knife crime and other serious violent injuries among young people in London and within metropolitan areas across the UK. Health services are increasingly viewed as having an important role to play in helping to prevent community violence given the rising cases presenting in NHS emergency departments. To help address the risks to young people caught up in cycles of violence, the charity Redthread places a team of experienced youth workers in hospital emergency departments to work alongside staff and support young people. If hospital staff are concerned about a vulnerable young person, they refer directly to the Redthread team who will reach out to the individual – in what is known a ‘teachable moment’ – and begin to work with the young person on a one-to-one basis, accessing other support services or agencies as required.

NIHR RSET researchers will evaluate this intervention at University College London Hospital (UCLH) by using a phased, mixed-methods approach. Phase 1 will involve a scoping review of the literature, analysis of previous Redthread evaluations and their findings, and qualitative research to understand the Redthread programme theory and service adaptations introduced due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The team will also undertake a feasibility review for quantitative and cost-effectiveness analyses.

Phase 2 will involve an in-depth process case study at UCLH, including interviews with key stakeholders and observations of meetings and Redthread training; a full economic evaluation to determine the cost-effectiveness of the intervention; and a quantitative analysis evaluating the effectiveness of the intervention in terms of readmissions or reattendances to hospital services in London. 

The evaluation will integrate this evidence to identify lessons for Redthread and similar charity initiatives based in NHS hospitals. The findings will lead to the development of an evaluation framework which will be co-designed with stakeholders during an end of study workshop. Finally, the project will contribute to the published research literature and evidence base about hospital interventions that aim to help young people at risk of violent injury and vulnerable to other types of harm.

Full study protocol for this evaluation

Project team
  • John Appleby
  • Jean Ledger
  • Chris Sherlaw-Johnson
  • Theo Georghiou
  • Sonila M Tomini
  • Lucina Rolewicz
  • Pei Li Ng

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