A cross-party parliamentary group led by a Croydon MP predicts that hospitals treat up to 21 young victims of violence every day nationally.

New figures published today by the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Knife Crime, chaired by Croydon Central MP Sarah Jones, indicate up to 21 young people are treated daily following assaults with knives and other weapons.

The APPG surveyed all NHS hospital trusts in England via Freedom of Information requests, revealing gaps in the recording of youth violence in hospitals.

Sarah Jones said: “With knife crime at record levels, the incredible work of our NHS staff has never been more important.

"They are saving young lives every day. Today’s figures show how stark this crisis is with thousands of young people being hospitalised by violence.

"But it’s worrying that almost half of NHS trusts were unable to give us accurate information on young knife victims.

“We have been calling for a public health approach to knife crime for some time so it’s encouraging that the Prime Minister has finally accepted this.

"But as we heard from health experts this week, the first part of a public health response is about diagnosing the problem - we can’t do that unless we know where the violence epidemic is most acute.”

According to the research, just half of NHS trusts were able to provide the correct data for weapon assaults on 11-25 year olds.

Responses from 58% of NHS trusts show that in 2018 over 4,500 young people - 12 per day - attended an emergency department or urgent care centre following assault by a knife or other weapon.

Almost half of the trusts were not able to provide the data, indicating the actual number of victims could be much higher.

The new figures came on the third day of the Prime Minister’s youth violence summit on April 3, focusing on the role of the health sector, and followed a round-table on the role of the NHS in tackling knife crime held by the APPG on Monday involving experts from youth charities Redthread and Barnardo's.

John Poyton, Chief Executive of Redthread, said:

“These figures are just the tip of the iceberg, with the real number of young people attending hospital after assault with a weapon likely to be much higher.”

“Hospitals and GP surgeries are anchor institutions in our communities and the NHS has a pivotal role to play in treating the youth violence as well as preventing it.

"Once we fully understand the size and shape of violence, we can then analyse the causes and all come together to coordinate the multi-agency solutions needed to ensure safer communities for our young people.”