Families want their children to have happy and healthy childhoods and try to protect them from harm. But children and young people can face all sorts of pressures that families might not be aware of.
Even with the recent rise in knife crime, the likelihood of your child ever being involved in knife crime is still very low. Whilst most young people do not carry knives – it is still a good thing to talk with your child about them and to help them make the right choices. Your child might not tell you much but remember what you say, think and feel is important to them.
A good start before talking to your child would be to learn what the basic laws are around carrying a knife;
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 make getting a job, going to university or college or even travelling abroad to some countries difficult.
You might be worried your child is carrying a knife or knows someone who is carrying a knife. Maybe you just want to talk to them, so they know they can come to you if they are worried.
Talking to your child about knives might be difficult. They may be frightened or not willing to speak to you about this. It is important to talk with your child about difficult subjects.
You may have seen something in the news about knife crime you could use as a conversation starter. Ask them what they think about carrying knives.
You could talk to your child by bringing up these points;
By carrying a knife you;
Not carrying a knife and walking away from confrontation;
Remind your child that they should always walk away if confronted with the threat of violence. It’s important to be clear that your child does have a choice around being involved with knife use, even if they think they may not.
You may have noticed on the news there are more stories about gang activity and violence in Norfolk. 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.
Social media is often a big part of a young person's life and it can often feel that they are glued to their phones. As a parent/carer if you are worried about who your child is contacting on their phone, talk to them. You can always check who they are messaging.
It can be hard to understand all of the current social media platforms, so if you need to talk about your young person's internet use or are worried about who they are talking to online, you can always contact us for advice and guidance.
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.
Mothers Against Violence – a voluntary group of mothers who have been affected in some way by gun and knife violence.
KnifeCrimes.org – an online knife crime resource offering advice and support.
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.
To speak to other Norfolk parents and carers, you can join our online community forum below.