Title: Simulation-based Holistic Approach for Reducing & Preventing Knife violence (SHARP)

Current funders: VRU (Violence Reduction Unit | Mayor of London)

Past funders:   Youth Endowment Fund

Project summary

The SHARP project brings together a multidisciplinary team including paramedics, police, an operating theatre team from the North West London Trauma Group (surgeon, anaesthetist and nurses), and ‘simulated patients’ (professional actors) portraying patient and family in order to bring to life interactive workshops to explore the journey of a victim of knife crime through immersive simulation, working with professionals to deepen knowledge about the lasting consequences of carrying and using a knife.

Central to delivery will be the involvement of participants’ coach mentors (with lived experience of gang and knife violence) and a schools’ support worker (skilled in working with isolated or excluded young people). The core delivery team will consist of simulation researcher, simulation technician, social science researcher, surgical and nursing research fellows, and project managers from each partner to coordinate activity. 

The Project Board will bring together a diverse blend of skills: academic, clinical and technical expertise; knowledge and understanding of the landscape; collaborative partnership working; in depth experience of working with hard-to-reach young people in education and community settings; and strategic delivery.

What happens to someone who has been stabbed?

Three scenes show us genuine emergency professionals doing their job in a simulated environment 

  • On the scene - roadside assistance: police officer, paramedic and ‘patient’. We learn how to help without making things worse 
  • Operating theatre – emergency surgery by trauma team, using realistic prosthetic (model) bodies which show how knives can injure vital organs 
  • Post operation – victim required a ‘stoma’ (bag to collect poo) after life-saving surgery: long-term emotional and physical implications 

We are able to put on scrubs, caps and gloves, hold surgical tools, touch the simulated patient, talk to the team, and engage with a stab victim about their personal experience.


Project aims

This project is built on partnership and co-design with young people. As the delivery team we are committed to enriching our understanding of the clinical pathway by working with affected young people.

SHARP Aims by Merlin Evans

Working with cohorts of young people in affected communities over an extended 12-month period we aim to build and develop trust. This will enable participation and collaboration on the co-design and creation of realistic age-appropriate simulations of immediate response settings and clinical care pathways. 

This open-minded exchange of perspectives results in ‘reciprocal illumination’ for everyone who takes part. Learning from young people’s experiences, thoughts and ideas and highlighting social and contextual issues of which professionals may be unaware will reflect the realities of vulnerable young people and integrate these within our simulations (for the benefit of other young people).

Our methodology acknowledges that everyone (including at-risk young people) is equally expert in different ways and can bring equally valid perspectives. 

Feedback from pilot workshops has evolved the programme to inform:

  • Optimum number of participants for comfort and active participation
  • Sensitivity of location to ensure participants feel confident and ability to participate freely
  • Appropriate themes and content of the discussion to avoid confusion 

The simulation-based approach which underpins this project has been developed through extensive public engagement.


For more information please visit our SHARP website

Project Team