Islington knife crime film warns teens: 'Don't carry weapons'
- Credit: Islington Council
A hard-hitting film that lays bare the consequences of knife crime and its effects on victims’ families is being rolled out to Islington secondary schools in a UK first.
It is hoped that the film, instigated by Islington parents’ support group, Love and Loss, will help stop the cycle of violence.
It features frank and raw interviews with 11 parents and siblings of young people who lost their lives to knife crime in Islington and neighbouring boroughs.
They talk about the lasting and devastating impact it has had on them and their loved ones.
Called The Impact Of Knife Crime, the documentary delivers a powerful message to young people not to carry knives – and the potential consequences for them and their families if they do.
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The film was made by the council’s youth offending service and the Love and Loss group, which provides peer support to families who have experienced the tragic murder of a child or young person in their family.
The group hope that their powerful testimony – and the underlying message not to pick up a knife – will soon be seen by young people and teenagers in schools and youth work centres across the country.
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One of the parents in the film, is Love and Loss co-founder Jennie Appleton. Her son Stefan was attacked and killed in an Islington park in June 2015.
She said: “All of us at Love and Loss have lived through the pain and trauma of losing a child or sibling to knife crime.
“We are absolutely determined to do everything we can to stop any more children or young people dying like this, leaving such a hole in another family’s life – and to stop others from ever thinking to pick up a knife in the first place.
“We need to educate young people to make safer choices, and we want the film and our message to be seen as widely as possible and have the issues discussed by young people in a supportive environment.
“Stefan had a future; he was a good boy, so loving and generous. His death has just broken our family, and any young person thinking of carrying a knife needs to think about how their family will feel if they end up dying, or behind bars.”
Islington's families chief, Cllr Michelline Safi Ngongo, called the film "deeply affecting".
She said: "These 11 families have shown immense courage to go on camera and revisit the most upsetting times of their lives, and share their grief openly to help educate others, so no more parents have to go through what they did.
“These voices of experience convey the very real cost and consequences of knife crime in a way no others can. They should be applauded for finding a new and innovative way to reach the right audience with the right message – and it supports our ambition to make Islington a place where everyone can feel safe.
“It allows young people to reflect constructively with their friends on the film’s messages, and discuss the issues of knife crime and carrying knives in a supportive environment, with professionals on hand to help and answer any questions.
“The film and the professional support offered with it is a great example of innovative prevention and early intervention work that’s so important in reducing violent crime and stopping people becoming victims in the first place.”
The film is being shown in Islington as part of youth safety work in schools, pupil referral units and youth work settings.
It is appropriate for secondary schools and recommended to be shown as part of a structured one-to-one or group work session that allows time for young people to discuss and reflect on what they have seen with their teachers, youth workers, social workers or youth offending service workers.
It has been endorsed by the London Violence Reduction Unit, which part-funded the project, as well as the Youth Justice Board, the Metropolitan Police, and the Ben Kinsella Trust.
The project is a key element of the council’s five-year youth safety strategy, published last November, which focuses on prevention and early intervention work.
London has already seem more than 20 teenagers killed through serious youth violence this year – one of the highest levels on record.