Two new specialists have been appointed at University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust (UHMBT) to combat domestic violence and youth violence.

Rebecca White, the new emergency department navigator (EDN), will be working with young people from 10 to 25 years old, while Natalie Wright has taken up the role of independent domestic violence advisor (IDVA).

These roles demand a high degree of sensitivity, expertise in dealing with violence, as well as kindness and empathy.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recognises domestic violence as a major public health issue, affecting survivors, their children, and families.

The impact of domestic violence goes beyond physical and mental health, extending to elements like homelessness, loss of income and isolation.

The Department of Health suggests that early intervention can alleviate the repercussions of domestic violence.

While domestic violence can occur across all sections of society, men are more likely to be the perpetrators, while women are usually the victims.

Women are at a higher risk of experiencing continued and severe forms of violence, including sexual violence.

UHMBT aims to break the cycle of violence since children who bear witness to domestic abuse may grow up to become perpetrators.

Despite domestic violence being predominantly perpetrated against women, UHMBT has seen an increase in male and older victims recently.

Ms White and Ms Wright work alongside UHMBT’s Safeguarding Team and their roles are funded by The Police and Crime Commissioner.

Ms White, who formerly worked as an IDVA for UHMBT and an offender manager for the police, said: "The aim of this new role is to reduce violence in younger people through early intervention and support - this is a Home Office priority and is a funded role by Lancashire Violence Reduction Network.

"I mainly work in the Emergency Department (ED) with young people who have come in with injuries, challenging behaviour, substance abuse, mental health problems and other issues.

"When I am alerted to a young person in the Trust’s care who might benefit from additional support, I approach them to see why they have come in and ask them if they would like to talk about it.

"We work together to build a bespoke plan for them with the aim of preventing further violence and other crimes.

"Ultimately, it is about making communities safer for everyone and improving the health and wellbeing of our young people."

Ms White's work involves helping those at risk of criminal exploitation.

She said: "Exploitation doesn’t just happen in less affluent communities – anyone can be targeted by criminals seeking to exploit them.

"My role is to help find people who have gone under the radar and need help.

“For many people I work with, it is their first time of disclosing.

"Our aim is to coordinate a safe response as we want the hospital to be a safe place for everyone."

Ms Wright's new role means she will be providing a service to victims at high risk of harm from partners, ex-partners, or family members, with the aim of securing their safety.

She said: "Everything is done with the victim’s consent.

"We will discuss what has been going on, and I will complete a risk assessment.

“It will then go to a Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conference (MARAC), if required, which is a meeting where information is shared on the highest risk domestic abuse cases between other IDVA services, representatives of local police, probation, health, child protection, housing practitioners, and other specialists.

"In this meeting the needs of the victims are discussed, and I am there to give advice and put safety measures in place.

"I can also look at the person’s plan of care, set up non-molestation orders and find a refuge for the person if they need to move out of the home or area."

Rebecca White, emergency department navigatorRebecca White, emergency department navigator (Image: UHMBT)

Both of the specialists share the sentiment of collaboration and partnership with different organisations.

Ms White said: "Both of our roles are about working with partner organisations.

"We should be applauding the NHS for doing this important work.

"We hope it will instil confidence in people that we are tackling these issues.

“Our aim is to be a ‘Trauma Informed Provider’ which means that all colleagues will consider the trauma that people are facing and treat them with compassion and empathy.”