Showing a positive attitude towards carrying a weapon and violence
A change in their behaviour at home or school
Items missing from your home that could be used as a weapon
Being secretive or protective over certain personal belongings
Being secretive about who is messaging or calling them on their mobile phone
A new group of friends that they don’t want you to meet
They have come home with new items that they can’t afford to purchase such as; clothing and mobile phones etc. and are reluctant to explain where they’ve come from
Stopped taking part in activities that they used to enjoy doing
They have stopped engaging with you and other family members
It’s important to highlight, that many of these signs could simply be due to teenage challenges such as exam pressure, relationships, other stressful issues or just part growing up. However, they could be an indication that they are being groomed, or are involved with gangs and violence.
What you can do
Have an understanding of where they are and who they’re with
Monitor online purchases arriving at your home. Online retailers and delivery companies should ask for age verification when they deliver or when they ask you to collect age restricted goods
Keep track on how many knives you have a home
Consider searching their room or belongings such as bags, or potential hiding places within your home
Monitor their use of social media and know what they’re doing whilst they’re online
Encourage them to meet and hang out with their friends in safe areas
We’re encouraging parents, guardians, and extended family members, to talk to your young family members about knife crime as you can all play a vital role in preventing them from becoming involved with knife crime. We advise you to try to talk to them openly about the dangers, as well as the life-changing consequences that come from carrying a knife.
Below is some simple advice to help you have the conversation:
Establish the most appropriate time and setting to have an open conversation about knife crime; it should be somewhere that you both feel comfortable
Be aware that they may be reluctant to talk to you about knife crime, so reassure them that they can be honest with you, as well as letting them know that you’ll listen to what they have to say and support them without judgement.
Encourage them to share their fears and worries. We know that fear and a feeling of vulnerability is often the reason behind people carrying knives. Many young people do so because they are afraid for their own safety, and they believe a knife will protect them. So, it's important that they realise, that their chances of becoming a victim of knife crime increases just by carrying one. Sharing your own fears can also help, as this can help them open up.
Highlight that vast majority of young people don’t carry a knife as they do not give you protection, and it's not acceptable. Let them know that they do have a choice when it comes to carrying a knife, even though it may seem to them like they don’t.
Explain that knives do not give protection. Carrying one could result in a prison sentence or even worse, injury or the loss of life. Stress that the bravest thing to do is walk away from a dangerous situation.
Encourage them to consider who they’d be affecting if they get involved in knife crime and what consequences can come from it, such as being expelled from school, being sent to prison or even worse, someone tragically losing their life. Also reiterate to walk away from a dangerous situation.
Ask them to look out for their friends, as it's not right to stand by and do nothing if they know a friend is carrying a knife or weapon.
Advise them to tell a trusted adult, such as a parent, family member, or teacher. If they are worried that someone will find out, you can report their concerns anonymously through CrimeStoppers on 0800 555 111.
During a conversation about knife crime with your child, you may hear some upsetting and concerning things about what they, and even their friends may be involved in, but try not to get upset or overreact, you don't have to deal with this on your own - help is available via CrimeStoppers, or the Fearless website.
If you have concerns about someone you know being involved in knife crime, or if you are aware that knives are being concealed in your community, call the Police on 101 or talk to us via LiveChat at www.gmp.police.uk. Always dial 999 in an emergency.
As part of the continued fight against knife crime across Greater Manchester, the GM Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) launched their #SpeakingOutCouldSaveALife anti-violence campaign. The campaign - which encourages friends, family members and teachers to speak out if they are concerned about a young person - features a youth worker, teacher, young person and community worker sharing the clear message that speaking out could save a life.
We all have a part to play when it comes to tackling knife crime and serious youth violence. Family members, friends and teachers all have an important influence on a young person, and can have a powerful effect. It might be a difficult conversation but talking about knife carrying is the way to finding a solution and saving lives. Find out more below:
As part of ‘I am greater’ – the campaign designed to help young people across Greater Manchester stay clear of violence and achieve their goals - there are four videos for parents, each covering a different topic relating to violence and hosted by an expert in the subject area.
The videos aim to help parents speak to their children about difficult subjects and to sign post to further help and support.
I am Greater is an anti-violence campaign aimed at 10-17 year olds, which has been developed with input from young people across Greater Manchester. It also offers support to parents and carers to help prevent young people becoming involved in violence.
Fearless is a service that allows young people to pass on information about crime 100% anonymously.
Crimestoppers is an independent charity that gives you the power to speak up to stop crime, 100% anonymously. Telephone: 0800 555 111.
NSPCC is a children’s charity whichprovides parenting tip for all stages of a child’s life, as well as advice on how to deal with difficult situations.