Knife crime has been in the news a lot recently, with many offences carried out by young people. While knife crime is a serious issue the reality is 99 per cent of young people do not carry a knife.
Because of the high profile nature of the crimes it may seem that carrying a knife is the norm. The reality is that it’s not – in fact 99 per cent of young people do not carry a knife. However we also know that young people can be under tremendous pressure from friends and peers. That’s why it’s important that we start the conversation now to make sure they have the facts and support they need to make the right choices.
Talking to a young person about knife crime can be tricky. They may be unwilling to talk about things they’ve seen or heard or feel that you don’t understand.
Many young people who start carrying knives do it because it makes them feel safer. They may know people or hear groups boosting about carrying knives and feel they need to do the same.
There are lots of myths around knife crime too, so talking about the realities of knife crime can help bring home how serious it is.
Here are some of the key facts you could share:
- Most people do not carry knives
- Carrying a knife does not keep you safe. In fact you are more likely to come to serious harm when carrying a knife
- It’s illegal to carry a knife, even if it’s for someone else
- Carrying a knife could mean being arrested, going to court and ending up with a criminal record or even a prison sentence.
- There isn’t a ‘safe’ place to stab someone. If a knife punctures an artery anywhere on your body you can bleed to death within five minutes
The impact of knife crime goes beyond the victim and the offender. It affects parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters and friends. People’s lives can be ruined forever. Talking about knife crime is difficult but by doing so you could be saving a life. If you’d like more support and advice the following organisations and campaigns are a great place to start:
Childline has information specifically about knife crime and young people can also call the confidential helpline for advice- 0800 1111
The Mix has some great, straight talking advice, specifically aimed at young people already affected by knife crime.
The #Knifefree campaign has some stories from young people who used to carry knives and now don’t. It also has lots of information about talking to and supporting young people.