Violence prevention is an essential aspect of adolescent health, as violence is one of the leading causes of death among young people. The health sector has an important role to play in reducing violence among adolescents, as the Cardiff Model highlights.
The Cardiff Model1Shepard J. Effective NHS contributions to violence prevention: The Cardiff Model. Cardiff, United Kingdom, Cardiff University, October 2007 (Available at: http://www.vrg.cf.ac.uk/Files/vrg_violence_prevention.pdf)., one of the leading programs on violence prevention, was created by Jonathan Shepard, professor at Cardiff University in Wales, United Kingdom. The Cardiff Model is an excellent example cross-sectoral collaboration—the strategic use of information from the health sector to improve policing. This model has helped to reduce the incidence of violence by 40% in Wales since its full implementation in 2001. Shepard found a disconnect between, on one hand, the casualty data and violent acts known to police and, on the other hand, the violent acts that the emergency room departments (EDs) recorded. For example, it was more likely that the police would know about an elderly person being attacked than about a young person presenting with injuries in the emergency room. This disconnect in information led to less efficient policing of areas of concentrated violence.
Targeting police efforts. To address this gap, the core aspect of the Cardiff Model utilizes the sharing of anonymous health-sector information from EDs with the police in real time. Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnerships have been created between the ED staffs and the police to share information about the location and time of violent acts, weapons used and other relevant demographic information. This information helps the police target violence prevention efforts. Police have new information on where they should be patrolling and also which bars and nightclubs are hotbeds for assault injuries. A TED Talk by Shepard provides a detailed explanation of the Cardiff Model and the use of emergency room information by the police (available at: http://www.noodle.org/learn/details/121592/prof-jonathan-shepherd-at-tedxcardiff-2012).
The Cardiff Model exemplifies the strategic role that information from the health sector can play in reducing violence. As highlighted in Shepard’s TED Talk, information-sharing with the police has led not only to more targeted policing of crime hotspots but also to changes in policy and the environment where violence is most likely. For example, it was emergency room information that first identified drinking glasses as a weapon. As a result, the glasses used at bars in Cardiff were changed to a plastic material. With evidence of the success of the Cardiff Model, it has been transplanted to other settings within the United Kingdom and to South Africa and Latin America, and it has proved cost-effective2Curtis F. et al. Effectiveness of anonymised information sharing and use in health service, police, and local government partnership for preventing violence related injury: Experimental study and time series analysis. British Medical Journal, 2011, 342 (available at: http://www.bmj.com/content/342/bmj.d3313). in the long term.
While the Cardiff Model highlights the potential for violence prevention for all the population, the model is particularly relevant for youth since violence is a leading cause of their deaths. In order to prevent violence among adolescents, the information sharing between emergency room staff and police is a vital method to target the right hot spots for violence, analyze which weapons are resulting in injury in adolescents and create appropriate policies to address the surrounding environment to reduce violence among youth.