Has your friend been a victim of knife crime?

If a friend of yours has been a victim of knife crime, you're probably going through a whole mixture of emotions - fear, anger, pain.

You, or someone close to your friend, should contact the police if they've not already been notified by speaking to your Safer Schools Officer, your local Safer Neighborhoods Team or, if it's an emergency, call 999.

If they've been threatened but not injured it is still a matter for the police and must be reported.

Find the best way to contact us here.

If you feel unable to talk to the police, you could contact the Crimestoppers charity anonymously on 0800 555 111. (You don't have to give your name and your call will not be traced).

How can you help?

Depending on what type of incident they've been involved in, your friend may be experiencing many types of emotion:

  • fear
  • anger
  • denial (pretending it didn't happen)
  • pain
  • loneliness
  • depression

Even if they're getting help from their family and other friends, your friend probably needs you more than ever. You need to be there for them. You might be one of the only people they feel they can be honest with.

Encourage your friend to speak to the police if they haven't already. If you don't think they're going to make the call, perhaps speak to someone like a parent or teacher, or call the police yourself.

What if it they've been seriously injured or worse?

Knife crime injuries can be severe. If your friend has been seriously injured or died as a result of their injuries, the police will be doing all they can to investigate the incident and find the person responsible. Perhaps you also need help getting over such a terrible experience or are worried that it might happen to you. Maybe you've even been threatened to stay quiet.

Do you think a friend is involved in knife crime?

Carrying a weapon is a crime, so if you think a friend is involved you should do something about it.

To them it might seem that is makes them look good or they might be doing it because it makes them feel safer, but the truth is that someone could end up getting seriously hurt or killed. If they are found with a knife in their possession, they will be prosecuted.

Why are they doing it?

If you ask your friend why they're getting involved in knives or guns they are likely to give a few different reasons:

  • fear
  • to gain respect
  • protection
  • to steal
  • to intimidate or harass
  • peer pressure or being pressured into carrying it for someone else
  • defence

Whatever the real reason, it is always likely to have something to do with fear. Even if they don't admit it, a friend getting involved in weapons will be frightened and continuously looking over their shoulder. They'll be waiting for the police to stop and search them, or to be confronted by others, and in the end will be grateful for a ‘way out’.

What can you do?

  • You might think talking to your friend will make them angry or put you in a difficult position, but you should try.
  • If you don't think you can talk to your friend, you should talk to an adult you know you can trust about it.
  • If not your parents or another member of your family, then a teacher or your Safer Schools Officer. They will know what to do.
  • You can also speak to a professional in confidence. Get in touch with ChildLine for example on 0800 1111.
  • The most important thing is that you don't just let it go - the longer your friend is involved with dangerous weapons the more likely it is that someone is going to get seriously hurt.

If you think the situation is getting really bad, perhaps you feel you need to report it, even if you know your friend will get into trouble. It's better they get into trouble than get seriously injured or even killed:

  • You should speak to your Safer Schools Officer or Safer Neighbourhoods Team. If it's an emergency call 999..
  • If you feel unable to talk to the police, you can contact the CrimeStoppers charity anonymously on 0800 555 111. (You don't have to give your name and your call will not be traced).

Has your child been a victim of knife crime?

If your child has been the victim of this type of crime, and has been seriously injured or worse, you are now probably going through grief that most people will never experience.

If you have not already been contacted by victim support, you may wish to go to www.victimsupport.org or call 0845 30 30 900.

How can you help?

You should report it to the police if they've not already been notified. Visit your local police station or speak to your local Safer Neighbourhoods Team. If it's an emergency and you feel your child is still under threat, you should call 999.

Report it

If you feel unable to talk to the police or report it online, you could contact the CrimeStoppers charity anonymously on 0800 555 111. (You don't have to give your name and your call will not be traced).

Helping your child

Depending on what type of incident they've been involved in, your child - and the rest of your family - may be experiencing many types of emotion:

  • fear
  • anger
  • denial (pretending it didn't happen)
  • pain
  • loneliness
  • depression

They probably need you more than ever. It's important to be there for them.

Is it part of a something bigger?

If you think there might be more to it than a one-off incident and that maybe them being threatened or injured by a weapon has something to do with them being bullied, take a look at our bullying pages. Either get the facts about bullying, or for more detailed info on how you can actually help them read ‘Are you worried your child is being bullied?‘

There are trained professionals who can offer confidential help, advice and counselling support for you and your child. See ‘More help and advice‘. Encourage your child to speak to ChildLine on 0800 1111 if you feel you are unable to give them the help they might need.

What if it they've been seriously injured or worse?

Knife or gun crime injuries can be severe. If they've been seriously injured or died as a result of their injuries the police will be doing all they can to investigate the incident and find the person responsible. Perhaps you also need help getting over such a terrible experience or you're worried it might happen to you. You need help and support.

Think they might be getting into something they shouldn’t ?

Are you worried your child is involved in knife crime?

It can be extremely worrying to think that your child is involved in something as dangerous as knife or gun crime. Maybe they're not carrying a weapon themselves but are associated with people who are. The natural reaction is to panic - but this won't resolve the situation and could push your child away.

The consequences of taking no action, though, could be extremely serious for your child or someone else. You must do something about it.

If you discover they've been carrying a weapon, you'll almost certainly question why. If they're willing to talk about it, they might give you a number of reasons:

  • fear
  • to gain respect
  • protection
  • to steal
  • to intimidate or harass
  • peer pressure or being pressured into carrying it for someone else
  • defence

Whatever the reason, it is likely to have something to do with fear. Even if they don't admit it, a young person getting involved in weapons will be frightened and continuously looking over their shoulder. They'll be waiting for the police to stop and search them, or to be confronted by others, and in the end will be grateful for a ‘way out’ of that lifestyle.

What can you do?

Learn about the law:

  • Carrying a knife or a gun is illegal.
  • Police are allowed to use their powers to stop and search someone if they believe a weapon is being carried.
  • Having a criminal record could stop your child gaining entry into a university, getting a job and could place restrictions on them travelling to some countries.

Make them aware of the consequences:

  • Carrying a weapon increases the risk of them being injured themselves.
  • It is illegal - they could ruin their life if they're caught, even if they never use the weapon.
  • They could go to jail for up to 4 years if they're found in possession of a knife or 5 years for a gun, even if they're carrying it for someone else.
  • In the worst case scenario, they could get life imprisonment for murder.
  • Whilst walking away is often the hardest thing to do, it is the safest and won't get them into trouble with the police.

Talk to the parents of your child's friends. If you're worried, they probably are as well.

  • They may see your child in different places, hanging out with different friends and could help you get a better understanding of the situation.
  • By working together you could raise awareness.

Is it part of something bigger?

If you think it's getting really bad and think your child has used the weapon against someone, you should report it, even if you know they will get into trouble. It's better they get into trouble now than get seriously injured or even killed.

  • Your child doesn't need to know it was you who reported it.
  • You could speak to your local Safer Neighborhoods Team. If it's an emergency call 999.
  • If you feel unable to talk to the police, you could contact the Crimestoppers charity anonymously on 0800 555 111. (You don't have to give your name and your call will not be traced).