Talking About Knives with Young People
As many of our Billy Project members have seen, the arrival of the Knife Angel Sculpture in Blackburn has created some brilliant opportunities to talk about knife crime and the impact that it has on local families. Talking about knife crime with young people can be a little daunting, particularity as adults have strong views on the subject . However, one of our Billy Project members kindly agreed to share her story to help begin these important conversations.
‘I lost my brother to a brutal stabbing in 2003. He was just 28 years old. The following years were a huge challenge for my family as we navigated our grief, a murder trial and trying to move forward with our lives. Eventually, I made the decision to reach out to Marvin’s killer and took part in restorative justice. I was able to meet the person face to face and talk about the impact that this evil act had on our lives. Knife crime doesn’t just affect victims, but the impact reaches much further than that, from the paramedics called, to the families of perpetrators who also must come to terms with the crime.’
Melissa Macfarlane, Blackburn
Knife Crime Statistics
Knife crime in Britain is increasing amongst young people with The Office of National Statistics showing a 6% increase in knife related crime. As parents and carers, it is extremely important that we talk to our children about knives and the ways in which they can keep themselves safe. The Ben Kinsella Trust has some excellent knife crime resources that you can use to actively talk to young people about knives, but we have also put together a short guide that you can use for discussion purposes.
When discussing knife crime with young people, it is important that you choose a time when you can have a quiet and uninterrupted conversation. Perhaps whilst walking the dog or after a mealtime. Listen to what they have to say, stay calm and avoid being judgement. That way, they will feel more comfortable about opening up and discussing their feelings. If the young person doesn’t want to talk to you, think of another trusted adult that they could speak to.
Don’t carry a knife
It may seem tempting to carry a knife for protection when you feel unsafe. However, existing studies have shown that those who carry knives are more likely to get hurt. If a young person feels afraid when they are outside, speak about alternative routes that they could take or invest in a personal alarm. Explain that they should phone 999 in an emergency.
Remind the young person about the consequences of carrying knives. A criminal record can prevent them from getting into university or working in certain jobs. They may also face up to 4 years in prison for carrying a weapon. If a person is stabbed in their presence, they could also face prosecution for murder under ‘joint enterprise’.
If they witness a knife attack
- Move to a safe place immediately such as a shop, gym, pub or anywhere where there are members of the public.
- Phone 999 immediately.
- Apply pressure to the wound, wrap a piece of clothing around your hands if you can do so. Putting pressure on the wound helps the blood to clot.
- If you see a sharp object in the wound. Do not try to remove it.
- Stay on the phone to the 999 staff. They will tell you what you need to do.
- Stay calm and wait for help to arrive.
If you are worried about a child or another young person, there are lots of organisations that can offer support. Alternatively, you could contact your local policing team, child services or school safeguarding team for advice. If you wish to talk to someone at the Billy Project about fears that you may have for your safety or the safety of others, we are happy to help signpost you to local services in Blackburn that can assist you.
The Knife Angel Sculpture is located at Blackburn Cathedral for the duration of November 2021. There are a number of educational workshops running throughout the month. The sculpture also contains an amnesty box for people to anonymously dispose of weapons.