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One thing I have learned from today’s training is that it’s not just one person who can get affected by a crime.

A young person participating in a weapon crime awareness session

Addressing widespread need - weapon crime.

Knife Crime Awareness

Sometimes rather than a business or organisation, help will be sought by community or cross organisational group. Some programmes are so needed they are requested by communities themselves or they have relevance and importance across a range of individuals, groups and organisations.

During our work, parents, children and teachers were telling us about the problem of young people carrying weapons. There was a clear need to raise awareness and look at the root causes of this and other related behaviours. Children and young people don’t always understand or stop to consider, what could happen if they use a weapon or if a weapon is used against them, sometimes simply in retaliation for carrying one they never use. It’s important for them to understand how their actions could affect the rest of their lives and the lives of others.

A programme team of a project management experienced senior leader, advanced restorative practitioners, trainers and volunteers, designed a programme to support the community and authorities to meet these needs. Working in a school not just with potential weapon carriers but with the friends of those who may have committed an offence with a weapon can prevent retaliation and revenge crime. It can protect children, young people and education professionals.

We were told by the police that there was no problem in particular with the issue we were trying to address, so community groups and schools led the way and we delivered sessions in schools and community centres.

Young people participated in really interactive sessions where they enjoyed activities with relevance and thought provoking impact and they heard from volunteer former offenders about how weapon crime had impacted their lives and the lives of their families. They heard from recovered weapon crime victims and considered the effect on those who might be harmed and their families.

The participation and feedback was incredible. There were many disclosures which we were able to deal with to improve safety. Feedback showed a new awareness on the part of young people and those who live and work with them. It also showed a resulting preference for not carrying weapons and using other methods of conflict resolution instead.

We are seeking funding to continue our weapon crime awareness programme beyond the two schools and two community groups in Cardiff that we’ve worked with so far.

Wales Restorative Approaches Partnership delivers training on and offers services for conflict resolution in all settings and contexts. Give us a call or email us to find out more.

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