A good start before talking to your child would be to learn what the basic laws are around carrying a knife;
- It is illegal to carry any knife if there is intent to use it, even defensively, as a weapon. Even if the knife belongs to someone else, such as a friend or a boyfriend.
- Police can and will search someone if they believe they are carrying a knife. Police and school staff can also search young people for weapons at school.
- Carrying a knife could mean being arrested, going to court and ending up with a criminal record or even a prison sentence. This can affect the rest of their life. Having a criminal record can prevent them getting a job, going to university or college or even travelling abroad to some countries.
For more information on the laws around carrying a knife *click here*.
You might be worried your child is carrying a knife, or maybe you just want to talk to them, so they know they can come to you if they are worried.
You may have seen something in the news about knife crime that you could talk to your child about. Ask them what they think about carrying knives?
Talking to your child about knives might be difficult. They may be frightened or not willing to speak to you about this. But it is never a bad thing to talk with your child about difficult subjects. it’s important to be clear that your child does have a choice, even if they think they may not. You could talk to your child by bringing up these points;
By carrying a knife you;
- Have a false sense of security.
- Could be arming your attacker, increasing the risk of getting stabbed or injured.
- Are breaking the law.
Not carrying a knife and walking away from confrontation;
- Is what the vast majority do.
- Is the tougher thing to do.
- Means you’ll be safer from serious harm and not breaking the law.
Remind your child that they should always walk away if confronted with the threat of violence.
For more information on how to talk to your child about knives *click here*.
You may have noticed on the news there are more stories about gang activity and violence in Norfolk. Understandably, you may worry that your child might be pressured in to joining a gang. It is good to be aware and help protect your child by recognising the possible signs of being in a gang and getting further help and support if you need it.
*Click here* to find out more about gangs on Just One Norfolk.
Most children decide they need to start carrying a knife because they feel threatened. But there may be other reasons why they decide to carry a knife;
- Fear of being a victim of knife crime.
- General self-defence.
- They don’t know it is wrong or illegal. To intimidate others (by way of protection).
- Peer pressure.
- To earn respect.
- Involvement in criminal activities.
None of these are good enough reasons for carrying a knife and will not stop someone being prosecuted.
Who Can Help?
If you are worried your child is at risk or has been threatened call the Norfolk Police on 101.
Victim Support – this national charity can help you and your child if they have been a victim of knife crime. *Click here* to find out more.
Mothers Against Violence – a voluntary group of mothers who have been affected in some way by gun and knife violence. *Click here* to find out more.
KnifeCrimes.org – an online knife crime resource offering advice and support. *Click here* to find out more.
You can contact the Healthy Child Programme by calling Just One Number on 0300 300 0123 or texting Parentline on 07520 631590. Our opening hours are 8am-6pm Monday-Friday (excluding bank holidays) and 9am-1pm on Saturdays.
If you are 11-19 you can text ChatHealth on 07480 635060 for confidential advice from one of our team.