If you find yourself involved in a gang or carrying a weapon, you probably feel your life is spiralling out of control, and you are constantly looking over your shoulder. But you're here looking for help and that's a good start.
You might think you'll be respected or even feared for carrying a weapon. But all it really does is put you, your friends and family in danger.
- Carrying a knife or gun is illegal
- Carrying a knife or gun increases your risk of being injured
- It also increases the risk of the people around you being injured, and can cause great distress and upset to your family
- Police are allowed to stop and search someone if they believe a weapon is being carried
- Having a criminal record could stop you gaining entry into your chosen college or university, getting a job and could place restrictions on you travelling to some countries like the United States of America
What can you do?
Maybe you're under pressure to carry a knife or gun - you might think it'll be worse trying to get out of a gang or have it with you for protection. The truth is, it is more dangerous to keep going as you are:
- If you don't take it with you, it won't be used
- Whilst walking away is often the hardest thing to do, it is the safest and won't get you into trouble with the police
- There is help out there. If you don't feel as though you can talk to your parents, a teacher or the police, then talk to a professional in confidence. ChildLine could be your first call on 0800 1111
What should you do if you've already injured someone?
If you've used a weapon to injure someone you're probably feeling a mixture of different emotions: fear, guilt, anger, worry.
- You must own up. The trouble you'll be in if you're found out later could be much worse that if you do the right thing now
- If you want to speak to the police, contact your Safer Schools Officer, your local Safer Neighborhoods Team or go to your nearest police station. If it's an emergency call 999
- You can also call Crimestoppers charity anonymously on 0800 555 111. (You do not need to give your name and your call will not be traced)
Are you getting pressure from your friends to carry a knife?
Your friends might tell you that you'll be respected or even feared for carrying a weapon. Maybe they say you'll need it for protection. But all it really does is put you and your friends in greater danger.
Perhaps there's more to it than that - maybe you feel threatened by your friends and feel you need to carry a weapon for your own protection. What could be happening is that you're being bullied into doing something you don't want to do. If this is the case, try reading our section on bullying on our Safe website.
What can you do?
The advice is clear - don't give in to them - don't carry a weapon:
- If you don't take it with you, it won't be used.
- Whilst walking away is often the hardest thing to do, it is the safest and won't get you into trouble with the police.
There is lots of help and support out there. If you don't feel as though you can talk to your parents, a teacher or the police, then talk to a professional in confidence. ChildLine could be your first call on 0800 1111.
If things are getting bad and people are getting hurt you should report it, even if you know your friends might get into trouble. It is better that they get into trouble now than for you or them to get more involved and end up seriously injured or even killed.
- You could speak to your Safer Schools Officer or Safer Neighborhoods Team. If it's an emergency call 999.
- If you feel unable to talk to the police, you could contact Crimestoppers charity anonymously on 0800 555 111. (You don't have to give your name and your call will not be traced.)
Have you been the victim of knife crime?
If you've been a victim of knife or gun crime, you're probably going through a whole mixture of emotions - fear, anger, pain. Perhaps it was a random attack, or maybe you're in a gang and this was always going to happen sooner or later. Maybe you get bullied and the bullying has got a whole lot worse.
If the police haven't already been notified, then you or someone close to you should contact them straight away by speaking to your Safer Schools Officer, your local Safer Neighbourhoods Team, or by going to your nearest police station.
If it's an emergency, and you still feel like you're in danger you need to call 999.
If you don't want to make the call to the police or report it online, perhaps speak to someone like a parent or teacher - they can make the call for you.
- You also don't have to talk to the police if you don't want to. You could call Crimestoppers charity anonymously on 0800 555 111. Your call will be treated in the strictest of confidence - you do not need to give your name, and your call will not be traced.
- If you've been threatened but not injured it is still a matter for the police and must be reported for your own safety.
What to do next - get more help
Being injured by a knife or gun is no doubt one of the worst things that has happened to you. Even being threatened with a weapon can be incredibly frightening. Don't be embarrassed to seek out expert help - you need support and there are lots of ways for you to speak to someone anonymously.
Choose a different ending
Choose a Different Ending is an interactive film that allows you to decide what happens next. You can interact with it, choose what to do and decide how it ends. In Choose a Different Ending you decide whether to live or die.