A forensic psychologist from Nottinghamshire, who gives expert advice in court for trials relating to violent crime, is urging parents in Gedling borough to talk to their children about the dangers of knife crime.
Crime in Nottinghamshire soared by 29 percent in the last year – with more than 20,000 extra incidents recorded in the area. This includes a sharp rise in knife crime – a 10.8% increase from last year’s figures, with 822 serious offences involving a knife already committed this year.
Knife crime and the consequences of these crimes can cause a huge worry parents. It is becoming the norm to see reports about the increase in gang culture, injuries, fatalities, criminal convictions, and youths feeling threatened. In the last three months there have been 15 serious incidents involving a knife across Nottinghamshire.
Dr Ruth Tully is an expert in her field and has examined and given evidence in some tragic cases. She wants to help tackle the issue of knife crime in youths.
She said: “In recent times we’ve seen more diversity in the types of weapon that people use to cause offences.
“For example, knife crime is increasingly in the media but so are acid attacks and firearms offences.
“Ultimately the availablity of weapons is a crucial factor in a person’s choice to carry and use them. Any type of weapon can cause serious harm, as we see on an almost daily basis in the news.”
Dr Ruth Tully’s top tips for parents on knife crime prevention:
1. Talk about knife crime
It’s important to have these conversations with children so that they understand what knife crime is and know the effect that it would have on you and them if they carried a knife, were caught with a knife, or were injured.
Reassure them that they can speak to you about anything they are worried about and that you won’t judge. It’s better to address any problems at an early stage before they have a chance to escalate.
2. Understand why people carry knives and other weapons
I often get asked why people carry knives and why they engage in such serious offences.
Having worked with many violent offenders who have used knives, the motivations can be quite different. Some people might carry knives because they feel it gives them self-protection, others might think it gives them status, whether that’s with their peers or in general.
Some people use a weapon to try to threaten and intimidate somebody and when that’s escalated, they have been prepared to use the weapon and caused serious harm.
3. Be aware of the consequences
Let your children know how their actions can affect everyone else in the family. How would everyone feel if they were injured or arrested? Could they be putting other family members at risk if they get involved in violence and gangs?
4. And be aware of the dangers
Many knives are used against their owner, and people need to be aware that carrying a knife opens people up to being involved in an attack. It’s important to teach children that walking away from any kind of confrontation or altercation is the best thing to do, and seeking advice from trusted adults or agencies like the police can really help. It’s important to also teach children that the police are there to help, not just there to catch people doing something wrong.
It’s useful to try to use facts to back up what you are saying. You can look at case studies and campaigns which can be hard hitting at getting across the consequences that knife crime can have. Try and encourage positive choices, and be open with your child if you think they are getting involved in knife culture. It’s not as simple as offering pro-social alternatives, otherwise we would have solved the problem by now, but if there are activities your child might be interested in that will put them into contact with pro-social others, then this can be useful and give them something different to focus their time on.
For more information visit: tullyforensicpsychology.com
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