Friday 23rd March 2018
Friday 23rd March 2018
An advertising campaign to reduce knife crime among young people featuring real cases has been launched in England and Wales amid warnings of a stabbing epidemic in London.
The £1.35m Home Office campaign will target 10- to 21-year-olds on social media and digital TV channels. A poster campaign will be displayed in English cities where knife crime is prevalent.
The #knifefree adverts focus on real stories of young people who decided not to carry a knife in an effort to inspire others to pursue positive alternatives, the department said.
The campaign forms part of the government’s forthcoming serious violence strategy, and comes as the number of fatal shootings and stabbings since January in London .
Patrick Green, the chief executive of the Ben Kinsella Trust which is named after the 16-year-old London boy stabbed in 2008, said: “It is vitally important that we help young people understand the dangers associated with carrying a knife. A knife won’t protect you, it doesn’t give you status; harming or stabbing someone isn’t a trivial act.
“We need to do more to help young people understand that carrying a knife doesn’t solve anything, in fact all it does is increase the likelihood that you will be imprisoned, seriously injured or murdered.
“Introducing young people to the life stories of others who have faced the same challenges but have chosen to live knife-free is a powerful way to help them make more positive choices.”
The ads, which will run for six weeks, are based on research which found that real-life stories of young people talking about their experiences with knives resonated with the target audience.
They point young people to a dedicated website which provides advice, information on support services and activities aimed at empowering them to change their behaviour.
The home secretary, Amber Rudd, said: “The emotional stories at the heart of the new Knife Free campaign bring home in powerful fashion just what a far-reaching impact it can have on a young person’s life if they make the misguided decision to carry a knife.
“I hope any young person who is seriously thinking about carrying a knife listens to what the implications can be and realises what options are available if they choose to live knife-free.”
The government has consulted on new laws on offensive and dangerous weapons, including banning online stores from delivering knives to residential addresses and making it an offence to possess certain weapons in private.