#LifeorKnife- the choice is yours.
This year the Chief Constable and the Police and Crime Commissioner pledged there would be ‘a conversation with every child,’ in the West Midlands about knife crime. Backing up that pledge is a new campaign from the force.
The #lifeorknife campaign, which has been informed by the region’s schoolchildren, teachers, police officers, doctors, paramedics and members of the Police and Crime Commissioner’s Youth Commission, encourages children to talk about knife crime with parents, teachers and peers.
Signs you might want to talk to your child about knife crime
If they have become withdrawn from the family and school, changed their behaviour, achievement or school attendance
If they might have lost interest in hobbies and old friends and now hang around with a new group, staying out late and being vague about where they go.
If they have become secretive and defensive, particularly about what’s in their bag and might even told you that they need to carry a knife.
If you’ve noticed knives are missing from the house or may even have found one in your child’s bag or coat.
These things seem easily explained as part of the difficult teenage years, but it’s still important to talk to them about knife crime.
How to have the chat
Pick a place and a time where you can comfortably chat together. Your child might be reluctant to talk to you, so it might help to start by watching a relevant video or news article.
Ask them if they understand what knife crime is about. Be patient, get them talking, reassure them that they can be honest with you about their fears and worries. You are there to listen and support them.
What you might want to say
You might want to share your own fears about their safety and their future. Tell them that even when they feel they don’t have choices, they do.
You might have a story from your own childhood you can share about a time you felt pressured into acting a certain way or a recent news story you could reference.
Explain that the bravest thing to do is walk away from a fight, particularly one where someone has a knife. That while walking away is never easy, it’s easier than getting seriously hurt or being responsible for killing or injuring someone else.
You might want to discuss excuses your child could use to help them walk away, such as ‘I have to go and pick my little brother up,’ - or decide on a ‘code’ where the child can message you asking you to call them so that they can use your call as an excuse to walk away.
Reassure them by saying many young people don’t carry knives.
You can find out more by visiting the knife crime page on our website and join in the conversation on social media using #lifeorknife.
You can also find out more independent advice and anonymously report knife crime online by visiting Fearless.