Realistic images of knife crime

Knife crime

Two charities have teamed up to help increase support around knife crime for young people in Scotland

7th October 2019 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

Youth organisations have joined forces to boost confidential support on knife crime.

Fearless – the youth service of independent charity Crimestoppers - has teamed up with No Knives Better Lives this week to ensure young people know the facts around knife carrying and encourage them to speak up with information 100% anonymously.

The youth charity has stopped using images of knives in Scotland, opting instead for No Knives Better Lives images which have been co-designed by young people with experience of offending.

Around half of the overall information fearless.org receives in Scotland relates to knife carrying and it’s one of the most common issues that young people raise during our charity’s outreach work.

Knife crime and overall violence have dropped significantly in Scotland over the past 10 years and charity workers are keen to ensure this reduction continues.

The two-leading youth organisations are equipping every secondary school in Scotland with posters and resources.

Lyndsay McDade, senior youth projects officer at Crimestoppers, said: “In the past we’ve used images of knives to make our message standout and to highlight the stark consequences of knife carrying, but through talking to young people and listening to advice from partners such as NKBL and the Scottish Violence Reduction Unit, we’ve learnt that increasing fear can inadvertently increase the risk of young people carrying a knife.

“By producing a campaign that does not use sensationalised images, we hope that young people will be more reassured that carrying a knife should not be considered as the ‘norm’; thus, encouraging prevention whilst also encouraging reporting for those too afraid to speak up.

“Our message to young people is clear – if you know or suspect someone regularly carries a knife and you don’t feel able to tell anyone, tell our charity 100% anonymously. We don’t trace IP addresses and never know who you are. You can trust us with the information and stay confident that it will be used to make Scotland safer for everyone.”

Orielle Taylor, national coordinator for No Knives Better Lives, said: “In 2009, the creation of No Knives, Better Lives was a response to the very high incidence of knife crime in Scotland and the corresponding high numbers of young people charged with handling an offensive weapon.  This position has changed dramatically over the last decade. The majority of young people in Scotland do not carry a knife.

“NKBL’s Taking Stock; a collection of stock images on knife crime, co-designed with young people with experience of offending, was launched in March as part of an effort to reduce the use of graphic and sensationalised images in the media of young people.

“Young people looked at images currently used to portray knife crime. Their conclusion was that images used in the media were likely to scare children and young people, and did not seem to be realistic. The young people’s ideas were turned into a series of 16 photographs taken by photographer Becky Duncan, a professionally trained photographer specialising in social documentary for the third sector.”

Justice Secretary, Humza Yousaf said: “I’m delighted to see Fearless and No Knives Better Lives coming together to work in partnership on this project to keep Scotland’s young people safe and informed about knife crime.

“Over the last 10 years we have seen a dramatic fall in knife carrying in Scotland – but there is no room for complacency. This new Fearless campaign uses images from the Taking Stock project, which looks at the impact of reducing the use of graphic and sensationalised images in the media, in the hope to stop young people carrying knives.

 “Fearless plays an important role in providing young people with a completely anonymous way of reporting crime they know of or suspect.  I encourage any young person who witnesses, or has any information about, knife crime to report it and help keep communities safe.”