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7th June 2024

During Knife Crime Awareness Week, we released our crucial report, "Keeping Young People Safe," at a notable event in Parliament's Jubilee Room.

The report highlights a disturbing trend: many young people feel unsafe in their communities due to knife crime. Even more troubling is the widespread misconception that carrying a knife provides protection.

The event was attended by influential figures, including MPs, our Youth Ambassador Fabio, and families affected by knife crime. This report marks a crucial step forward in addressing youth violence in the UK.

Patrick Green, CEO of the Ben Kinsella Trust, emphasised the importance of preventative education: "We see a concerning trend – fear of knife crime is driving young people, understandably worried about their safety, to believe a dangerous myth: that carrying a knife keeps them safe. This report is a powerful testament to the impact of preventative education. By dismantling these myths and equipping young people with the knowledge and skills to make safe choices, we can empower them to avoid life-altering mistakes. Equipping every child with knife-safety awareness and decision-making tools is absolutely vital in our fight against knife crime."

George Kinsella, Chair of the Ben Kinsella Trust, provided an overview of the Knife Crime Awareness Week campaign initiative and introduced the newly released "Keeping Young People Safe" report. He emphasised the need for community engagement and policy reforms to address the root causes of youth violence.

The most impactful speech of the morning came from Fabio, one of the Ben Kinsella Trust Youth Ambassadors. Speaking on the theme of "Youth Voice and Keeping Young People Safe," Fabio shared personal insights and highlighted the importance of including young people in conversations about their safety. In a moving testament to the 18 teenagers murdered in London, Fabio read the names of every single one of them who lost their lives who, he made the point,could have been at the event delivering his speech.

We also heard important speeches from Feryal Clark MP, Shadow Minister for Crime Prevention, who sponsored the event, Operational Director of Enforcement Regulatory Services & Community Safety, Gary Jones and Director of the London Violence Reduction Unit, Lib Peck. Our speakers all spoke passionately about the importance of preventive measures and community involvement in tackling crime and addressed how the "Keeping Young People Safe" report is a critical tool in the fight against youth violence.

The event not only showcased the findings of the "Keeping Young People Safe" report but also reinforced the collective resolve to create safer environments for young people. With powerful testimonies and actionable insights, we demonstrated that a united front is essential in the ongoing battle to protect the nation's young people.

Keeping Young People Safe evaluation: findings

The report, which was launched at the event. is based on data collected from nearly 10,000 participants who visited the charity's Choices and Consequences Exhibition in Islington and Barking & Dagenham over the past two years. Among the participants were 9,507 young people aged 10-17 and 247 teachers and youth workers.

The report highlights a disturbing trend: many young people feel unsafe in their local area due to knife crime. Even more troubling is the widespread misconception that carrying a knife offers protection.

Fear of Knife Crime
The report's findings paint a stark picture of the anxiety and fear pervading young people's lives:

  • Over one-third (36%) of young people don't feel safe in their own neighbourhoods.

  • Two-thirds (64%) have felt anxious about knife crime in their area.

  • 36% reported not feeling safe walking the streets.

  • Notably, 43% of girls specifically mentioned feeling unsafe where they live.

  • Carrying Knives

    Equally alarming are the misconceptions about carrying knives:
  • 1 in 4 people (24%) believe carrying a knife makes them safer.

  • Another quarter (25%) know someone who has carried a knife.

  • About 1 in 29 (6%) of 10-11 year-olds have considered carrying a knife themselves.
  • Positive impact of our Choices & Consequences workshops

    Despite these worrying trends, the report also highlights the significant positive impact of our "Choices and Consequences" workshops. These workshops, which use real-life stories, immersive theatre, and open discussions, have been successful in changing young people's beliefs and behaviours:

  • The number of young people who thought a knife would protect them dropped from 24% to 5% after attending the workshop.

  • 73% of those who had considered carrying a knife pledged never to do so following the workshop.

  • 89% of attendees pledged never to carry a knife.

  • The report demonstrates that these workshops not only positively impact young people but also empower educators. Teachers are more likely to integrate anti-knife crime lessons into their curriculum and feel more equipped to address this critical issue after participating in the workshop.

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