Aims This project uses drawstring ‘grab bags’ in the Emergency Department to deliver key information to young people on vulnerabilities including child sexual exploitation (CSE), sexual health (including LGBT+ issues), drugs, alcohol, mental health, gangs and knife crime. Our hospital Emergency Department treats approximately 4000 12–18 year olds annually. These include those hardest to reach, specifically those who do not regularly attend school/college. The ‘grab bags’ are one strand of a larger bi-borough multiagency project which aims to target CSE, gang activity and missing children, with a focus on joint working and data sharing across two boroughs.
Methods The bags were created after consultation with young people and were resourced by multiple agencies. The contents include information leaflets, wallet cards with useful numbers/ websites, a consent quiz, and a lipsalve with a domestic violence helpline printed as a secret barcode. For those aged 13+, condoms are included.
Results Initial results (n=36; target n=100) of the evaluation questionnaires were from young people aged 12–17 years (mean age 15) with 57% female. The bags were scored from 0 (‘completely useless’) to 10 (‘amazing’), with a range of 2–10 and an average score of 6.5. The most interesting or useful items were thought to be drug information (42%), condoms (40%), a list of helpful numbers/websites (33%), the lipsalve (28%) and information on mental health support (28%). 50% felt the bags were a good way of disseminating information, while 28% would like information face to face, 22% from a website and 17% from an app. 44% would recommend the bags to a friend and a further 42% ‘maybe’ would. Individual comments included ‘it feels good that you are trying to reach young people’ and ‘I am going to give the lipsalve to a friend.’
Conclusion The initial questionnaire responses plus verbal feedback given to staff have been very positive. Anecdotally, a number of missing children have presented to our ED and if even a small number of those vulnerable young people are helped by this project, it will be worthwhile.
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