Topic: Knife Crime
This toolkit aims to support and assist education staff, partner agencies and CYP practitioners in their work with children, young people and families by providing information, advice and links to resources specific to knife crime, including lesson plans for KS2 which can be accessed in the resources section at the bottom of this page.
With a steady rise in knife related crimes being reported over the last few years, there is a concern that it is fast becoming an epidemic across the country, specifically impacting on young people, families and communities.
It must be recognised that these concerns are not just being felt by adults but also by children and young people themselves. Research has shown that children are living in fear of crime more so than adults; reinforced by the UK Youth Parliament 2018 ‘Make Your Mark’ ballot which saw 1.1million children participate, a significant proportion of which came from Hampshire children, where knife crime was voted the top concern for young people.
Why are young people are carrying knives?
National and local research continues to determine root causes of why young people are carrying knives to inform the work needed to tackle the issue and reduce the risks posed. Although not exhaustive, below are some common factors known to influence young people to carry knives:
• County lines – organised drug networks
• Gang affiliation – protection/status
• Media attention/glamorisation
• Fear of crime – being attacked/self-protection
• Victim of bullying – self-protection
• Peer pressure – perception that most young people carry knives
The common factor is the ‘vicious circle’ young people find themselves in, for example – in a gang/drug network it is an expectation to be armed: ‘fear or be feared’ ‘live or die’ – regarding fear of crime and thinking ‘I need to defend myself’ highlights the absence of thinking or disregard that they are committing a crime to prevent a crime which is not a defence in law – also risking the knife they carry being used on them in a confrontation or causing injury to themselves.
The biggest concern and risk is that if a young person carries a knife they will almost definitely use it in situations where they feel the need to protect themselves, commit a crime, cause fear or reinforce their status/reputation.
More information about ‘County Lines’ can be found in our Child Criminal Exploitation toolkit via the link button below: