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Nurses back public health strategy to prevent and reduce violence

But some at RCN congress say burden should not fall on nurses to report people at risk 

But some at RCN congress say burden should not fall on nurses to report people at risk 


RCN public health forum chair Jason Warriner: ‘We need to look at the causes of crimes,
not just the symptoms.’ Picture: John Houlihan

Public health strategies to prevent and reduce violence should be supported by nurses, RCN congress has agreed.

Delegates at the emergency resolution meeting in Liverpool on Tuesday pledged to back the UK government’s health-based approach to curbing violent crime following an increase in knife attacks.

Legal duty

However, some nurses cautioned against blanket support for such initiatives, highlighting concerns over the Home Office’s current consultation to make it a legal duty for nurses in England and Wales to report young people at risk of involvement in knife crime.

Leading the call to support public health strategies on violence, RCN public health forum chair Jason Warriner said: ‘Violence is preventable but it’s an issue that comes in many forms, for example physical, sexual and emotional abuse, which can also include verbal abuse.’

He added: ‘We need to look at the causes of crimes, not just the symptoms.’

Stop cuts to services

Former RCN deputy president Rod Thomson, who is a public health specialist, said that while he backed the call, the government needed to stop making cuts to related services such as the police force.


Children’s nurse Helen O'Boyle.
Picture: John Houlihan 

Children’s nurse Helen O’Boyle said the government needed to amend its approach of enforcing nurses, teachers and doctors to report young people involved in knife crime.

‘Let’s work together with our multidisciplinary teams, the teachers and police and have a different strategy other than criminalising us for something [detecting knife crime] that might not be very obvious,’ she said.

The meeting almost unanimously backed the motion to support the government's public health strategies on violence.


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