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Why do young people carry knives?

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What don’t the headlines show? This episode, we talk to people working directly with young people affected. We take a closer look to understand young people’s perspectives, the challenges they face and how parents, adults and services can better support young people. Listen in to hear: 

  • What could be underneath a decision to carry a knife 
  • The role of adults and services in reducing violence
  • Stories and insights into the impact of violence on young people 
  • Plus tips for parents on managing social media

Guest speakers: 

Judith Samuel, Lead Youth Manager at the LIFT, Islington 

Julia Jenkinson, Clinical Psychologist, Islington Integrated Gangs Team.

You can listen on all the main podcasting apps by searching “Uniting Against Violence.” You can find us on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube by searching for Uniting Against Violence, and you can email us at unitingagainstviolence@gmail.com

Useful links 

Islington Integrated Gangs Team 

The LIFT Islington

Our funder and partners: 

The Mayor of London’s Violence Reduction Unit

Islington and Camden Councils

The Parent House 

This episode was co-produced by Sabrina Jackman and Sarah Hutt, with editing by Sarah Hutt and Content is Queen, and the host was Denise Marshall. 

Denise 0:08
Hello and welcome to Uniting Against Violence. We are a group of parents basically come together to create a podcast for parents, and anyone else who is concerned about serious youth violence and wants to take action to reduce it. The group of us consists of a mix of parent champions and ambassadors from London’s Violence Reduction Unit, and The Parent House, a charity based in Islington, Kings Cross. I’m Denise and we’re focusing on young people and their perspectives or experiences of serious youth violence, including what adults sometimes miss when thinking about knife crime. We’re here today at the LIFT Youth Center in Islington. And the LIFT is an amazing space for young people. If you hear any background noises, please be aware that we are in as a youth center. And there’s also noises outside because we’re on a busy road. So today our guest speakers this week are Judith Samuel, lead youth worker at the LIFT youth club in Islington, and Julia Jenkinson, a clinical psychologist.

Judith, if you can introduce yourself, please?

Judith 1:24
My name is Judith Samuel, youth manager of the LIFT youth hub work. I work with quite a vast amount of young people from all ethnic backgrounds, different cultures. And most of the young people that come here are borough wide. There’s some that are part of Youth Offending Service. There’s some that are part of the PRUs. There’s a very mixture of young people. But one of the good things is that you won’t identify that when you come through the doors. Because a young a lot of the young people don’t present certain behaviours here. Yeah, so it’s just very different.

Denise 1:54
Okay, thank you. And Julia?

Julia 1:56
Yeah, so I’m Julia Jenkinson, I’m a clinical psychologist based in Islington – it’s called Islington’s integrated gangs team, which isn’t a brilliant name, I know, because not everybody that I work with is kind of gang affiliated or affected. But everybody has been affected by serious youth violence. And I work directly with 17 to 24 year olds, and I work with parents as well, and sometimes alongside their children. Prior to that I worked for about nine years as a clinician in a secondary PRU, in North London, and then in East London,

Denise 2:31
As a clinical psychologist –

Julia 2:36
Yeah

Denise 2:36
The title, what exactly does that mean?

Julia 2:36
Most people would typically think of it as just working with mental health. But actually, I think, working with this cohort of young people that I work with – and this would be young people who are definitely involved in the criminal justice system – you have to take a very different approach to mainstream mental health services. Because these are often young men that will not go to their GP, let alone into a secondary mental health service. So it’s very much community based outreach work. Often, the boys and men have felt very let down by services. So that does take a lot of time to kind of build up that relationship. And as a result, I think, part of the way that I work is that I do a lot of advocacy for them with the police and probation colleges, and then in court but also will help them with benefits and stuff. And though it sounds like, “Oh, er, paying for psychologists to do that!?,” it’s more about the issue of you using your skills and experience to form a relationship with them, so that they trust you. Because if you’re filling out benefits, forms and stuff, often it’s lots of personal things that they need help articulating. But they, you know, wouldn’t feel comfortable doing it with someone that they didn’t know and trust.

Denise 3:45
Okay. Yeah. Okay. Thank you for that. So what’s your view on knife crime and serious youth violence?

Judith 3:52
It’s there, it exists. It’s not all young people. I wouldn’t say it’s the majority of young people. And I think it goes right across the spectrum of young people and adults. I think that there’s lots of trauma and issues behind serious youth violence. For some young people, their vulnerability comes a lot into it. You know, your vulnerability can take you into different avenues. I’m not saying that’s an excuse, but it’s a big part of why young people or people get into violence. And when you talk about violence, there’s other things additional to that, like drugs and, you know, loads of different things. And I think that it’s a world that is…. it’s populated very differently amongst a lot of young people. Because I hear some of the stories. And these are not even some people, young people, that are involved. They themselves have gone through so much trauma, that sometimes they may end up walking with a knife or picking it up or something and they’re not into anything. But I take things on individual basis, or try not to bundle it all together. Because it’s youth violence. That’s massive.

Denise 4:59
Well I’m gonna get to you on that as well about why they choose to carry a knife. Julia?

Julia 5:04
Yeah, I mean, I completely agree with that. I think I’ve learned to not make any assumptions about young people or to think that, “Oh, they’re all this or they’re all that” because they are incredibly different. I mean, I think there’s some common themes amongst, like not feeling safe, about sometimes feeling like there aren’t options open to them. And I think when you think about the involvement of drugs and selling drugs into that, the money aspect, and that often is kind of linked in with the violence and knife crime. I think one of the difficulties about having a conversation about it is that often is presented as this very almost black and white sides of a coin rather than lots of shades of grey. So I think it becomes really difficult for services to recognise that young people can be perpetrators and victims and witnesses, and that they can be vulnerable as well as a risk. And sometimes when I’ve worked with young people who have some degree of learning difficulty or be on the autistic spectrum, sometimes the things that make them most vulnerable, so make them more risky, and more likely to put themselves at risk. So I think it definitely feels to me having worked in Islington, from like, 2011, it feels more prevalent. And it feels to me that young people are more frightened. A lot of the time, I think as well.

Judith 6:26
I definitely think they’re frightened. And that’s the bit that it’s not talked about enough. It’s talked about if someone stabbed someone, someone’s carried a knife, or there’s been a murder, and I understand all that. But for all those young people that we speak to that are frightened, and will pick up something and walk with because they’re frightened that’s not heard, because it’s against the law, you still had a knife and did, you know that sort of thing, but they are very frightened. They’re fighting with the route, they’re planning a route, how to get to school, how to get to college, what’s going to happen on the bus, what’s going to happen along the road, I’m stepping into another postcode. There’s lots of different things they got to think about when they walk out their front door.

Denise 7:02
Seems quite a serious like topic, just the carrying of the knife and the bits that are like not covered because most people do really think it’s because they want to be gangsters. It’s also about the fear factor. So what do you both think is really important to understand about this topic that we’re talking about, and that adults don’t always get?

Julia 7:21
I think it’s about looking at the individual, understanding their story. And I’m not putting all young people together, because more than often, young people are just targeted as even if they’re sitting on the road or in a group, and probably not doing anything, there’s always something put onto them. And this is something that I have discussions with the police, and we do workshops here with the police and young people, and it’s all about communication, have better communication with the police, who young people don’t like majority of the times. So what we do, we have workshops once a month, and it’s with new recruits. And they’re hearing from young people some of the things that they’re up against when they’re stopped and searched. How a police officer talks to them, how they feel disrespected. And then we’ve opened up communication. We did it for over a year. And it’s made a massive difference on communication. And what’s the expectation from me as a young person when I’ve been approached, or from a police officer when a young person talks to me in a certain way. So I think that there needs to be a little bit more understanding. Don’t get me wrong, if there’s serious crime going on and something’s happened, I do understand that the response and how things happen is different. But I still think there needs to be a lot more communication, a lot more understanding.

Okay.

Denise 8:40
On that theme of thinking about young people as individuals, I think that the use of the word gang member, it has such negative connotations, in the same way that we kind of see where people use the word immigrants in a very derogatory fashion. And the young people know that and they know that if they go to court, or if they’re flagged up as a gang member by the police or in court that they’re likely to be treated more harshly. And I kind of think one of the things become really clear to me is about this absolutely feels – and I’m working with young people who’ve been very involved, you know, affected a particular end of the spectrum – have had such negative experiences that it would not occur to them to call the police if they were in danger. And I sometimes try to get my head around, what would that be like for me to feel that if I was being attacked, if I was being chased, that I…what, how do I protect and defend myself? And often, you know, the way that they would see that would be through carrying a knife is, so a lot of it, I think is about fear and safety and feeling like they have no other options. It’s an experience that I know about, but don’t experience myself. So I have to try to kind of imagine what that must feel like and how hard that must be. Like you say, it’s not about making excuses or kind of condoning a way of living. But my experience of the young people I work with is I’ve never been treated with such respect from young people that I work with. And care, you know, one of the young people used to always text me after I’d seen him to make sure I’m home okay. Or would offer, “I walk with you or cycle with you to the edge of the borough”, you know, the boundary. And so I think, to seeing them first and foremost as young people. Not gang members, not victims, not kind of offenders is really key. And I think they pick up on that, and it has to be kind of real can’t be faked.

Judith 10:33
Well, that’s why I like the whole thing around, you can’t just work with a young person for a few weeks, or six weeks, or 12 weeks. For me, it’s the relationship you build. And that may take a year may take two years. But you can see such great leaps within that time. Yeah, we’ll have our ups and downs and wherever, and that’s okay, we’ll boundaries back and forth. But they actually want that consistent, they want the consistency, they want the transparency. You know, you can tell them off if you have to tell them off, whatever it is, but they respond to that. And I think that more than often, there’s not a lot of people that can give that time. So I think that that’s an issue. This cutoff point.

Julia 11:15
Yeah, and I think definitely in mental health services, there’s a lot of you’ve got 12 weeks that then you’re out. And as well, that can be…. I think there isn’t enough examination of mental health services. So it can be a lot of “Oh, they didn’t engage. And I kind of think, well, “Was it that they weren’t engaging or was what was offered, not what they needed?’ And so there needs to be much more, you know, rather than the service, you know, it being set up to benefit the practitioners in the service, that we kind of go out of our way to work in a way that feels kind of useful to young people.

Denise 11:50
Because you mentioned trauma earlier, both of you, so would you say that trauma is probably the, the largest component of it?

Judith 11:57
I think it is, I think, over the last few years now Islington and maybe other boroughs are putting out the trauma informed training that’s supposed to be embedded in schools and places like that. But for myself coming from a youth work background, I’ve always been taught in a trauma informed way. So I struggled when people didn’t really look at the young person and beyond what they did. And that was always a question for me. But now I’m hearing more and more organisations saying “Oh, no, we’ve got to look, for you know, it’s about the trauma, it’s about the young person, we’ve got to see what you know what’s happened before. And that is good now, because I think that’s really relevant. But it has failed a lot of young people previously in schools and certain other organisations,

Julia 12:42
What I’ve come to realise is that a lot of young people are living with quite severe symptoms of PTSD. So hyper-vigilance, sleep problems a bit, struggling to regulate their emotions, and they don’t realise that this is what they’re experiencing, they just come to think that this is what life is like. And I think then that does have a real knock on effect for them kind of in their relationships, in their interactions with authority figures, both at school, you know, in the wider community with police. I mean, I’ve been working with young people for over 20 years, and I’m sure you have as well. And then I am still sometimes really taken aback about the level and seriousness of the violence. And I think about my role within that, because you wouldn’t try to do mental health support to soldiers in a war zone. And yet there is something about the reality of the life, but the young people that I’ve done work with, that they are not safe in their communities. So it is a real challenge to try to support them managing those symptoms, because they need to be hyper vigilant, actually, when they’re out. So it’s not, you know, ordinarily, you would be saying, “This event happened, you’re right to be, you know, kind of, on your guard about that, but now you’re safe. I think it’s a terrible indictment, really, that for a lot of the young men that we’re not able to say, “You are safe, so you don’t need to be looking over your shoulder all the time and working towards that…”

Denise 14:13
So they’re running on adrenaline all the time, which is really exhausting.

Judith 14:17
But I think that’s young people in general, even the ones that are not in violence. I think, more than often young people are waiting. They’re on waiting lists, they’re saying “Judith, I don’t wait that long.” They want the help. So they’re not good, they’re self medicating. But then you’re told, “Oh, well, it’s six weeks, it’s a year waiting.” That needs to get better. You know, some investment needs to happen there. So I just think yeah, trauma is a big thing. More than that. And if we’re saying that youth violence and knife crime is going up in that, young people see stabbing, they’re saying that it’s so normalised to them. When they hear someone shacked, someone got stabbed, that’s like “what?” for us, but for them it’s like [normal]. And they’re not reporting it. Just like you said. Because why should they? They don’t see where it goes.

Julia 15:04
And the culture of not speaking to the police at all because of fear and genuine and real fear of what that would mean for them in the community if people thought that they had shared information. And I think that, you know, I’ve worked with young people whose friends have been murdered, and they may have information and that in and of itself creates such an in turmoil for them about wanting to do the right thing by their friend, but also being aware of their own safety and what that would mean for them if they spoke. It’s hard to imagine being in that position

Denise 15:39
But it’s also like a mental health issue.

Judith 15:40
It does. But it also causes more violence, because retaliation comes from that rather than say, “Let me tell the police and speak to him.” Because of the fear. They’d rather take things in their own hands. And this is what I’m saying that people don’t really break it down to understand why some of those things happen. So and then it spirals out of control, because then it’s this person, that person, it goes on and on. So there’s no ending, sometimes to certain things.

Denise 16:04
Okay, so definitely consistency is needed. So as parents or adults, what do you think our role should be in playing in, basically, reducing violence?

Julia 16:16
I suppose what I think is that the peer group is incredibly important. At some point, as you know, just in terms of child development, as they get older, our influence as parents starts to, kind of not, come into conflict isn’t the right word. But it starts to also it comes alongside the peer influence. I do think that parents always remain really important. But the peer group becomes ever more important. And it’s probably going a little bit away from what you’re saying. But I do think there needs to be more intervention in primary schools, like later on in primary schools. If you’re already identifying that 12 year olds are hanging out with kids who are known to be gang affiliated, they’re already involved. That’s what I’d say, that’s not preventative, they’re already involved. And I think, and then you’re always going to be in a bit of a tug between what you’re kind of offering as a service or as a family with them peer group. So I think year five, year six, it being I think, they understand what is going on, and it’s about helping them develop self esteem and confidence, and feeling that they can get a sense of their own self worth and how they stand up for themselves. But stay safe. That has to happen much sooner.

Judith 17:36
Yeah, I totally agree with you. And I think it’s all about the positive role models around young people in general, it’s not just boys as girls as well. And I think that we have a responsibility ourselves to show them to kind of, you know, lead by example, in the way that you know, have boundaries – difficult – keep to those, you know, share the knowledge, try and direct them to the right places, make them you know, young people informed as much as possible, whether it’s around drugs, whether it’s access education, whether it’s around relationships, because relationships, a lot of young people getting into relationships young and, and they don’t even understand what comes with that, it’s very traumatic, and there’s lots of different things that come out of that. You know, some of it is real, some’s not real. It’s all sorts of things, but they’re young. So you know, sometimes they’re not going to the right people to after watching TV or watching Social Media, and they think this is the way it’s supposed to be. So there’s so much. But I think we have a responsibility to try and just share a lot of information. And you know…

Denise 18:39
Julia, what would you say that the impact of social media has been on young people?

Julia 18:44
Well I think kind of twofold. I think being on all the time, now, I think, for all young people, regardless of their background is a huge issue. Because it used to be the case, if you weren’t having a great time at school, or you’re having a bit of fallout with your friends, you could go home, you can have a bit of a break from it. And now, that isn’t possible, you’re on all the time. And it’s often used as a tool as well to kind of make people feel not good enough or bullied or excluded, particularly I think amongst girls will do a lot of “No, we’re not doing anything” and then they’re kind of out with their friends. And the person not invited really kind of feels that. I think in relation to the cohort of young men that I work with, you know, obviously, a lot of drill music is posted on YouTube, where they’re calling people out by name, referring to people that have died, and that really stirs up a huge amount of anger and hostility. And it can be done very purposely, and that is, I think, a lot about status and face and that and just having that as a way, a tool, kind of really to use. But it’s also you know, I do talk with young people about that about putting themselves at risk but also about the potential for that then to be used in criminal proceedings against them, as well if they’re seen rapping about things that have happened. Because sometimes they may, in music, talk about stuff they actually haven’t been involved in. That’s the other thing. But then it can be, it has been, you know, bought into court and news, there’s “Oh, this is evidence that they did X, Y, and Z”. So it can also be used kind of against them as well.

Judith 20:19
And also, like you said, going on from that sometimes you’re just making the music. Nut people think it’s all gangs. Because there’s so many of you. It doesn’t mean a gang, but it is interpretation.

Denise 20:32
So would you say that parents also need to be educated on the social media side? Because I don’t think….there’s so many apps. So many things happening on social media. How do you think parents could play a role in this?

Judith 20:47
You know, giving a child a mobile phone if you’re able as a parent, which you should be, to monitor. Because I know my grandson has a mobile phone. But he’s 15. But he’s still his phone is still monitored by his parents very much. They know everything, every move on that phone. That was done from day one.

Julia 21:07
Yeah. You’re absolutely right Julia.

Judith 21:11
It’s also as well, like you talked about the apps and things like that, and I feel like as a youth worker, I’m really having to keep myself updated with some of this stuff, because I need to understand the TikTok. So I need to understand the goodness out of some of them. They’re not all bad. There’s some things that can elevate you. And they’ll say “But Judith, look at this side” so I’ve seen the flip side, and I can see the downside to it as well. So it’s the balance, it’s being able to understand the balance of social media. And I think, once you’re able to give young people, to say to them, “Look, the law: if you post something indecent, or whatever it is, [this is] what can happen to you.” They need to understand where they get into trouble. But they also need to understand when they’re receiving something you can get into trouble.

Julia 21:55
Again, if you cannot get away from the relationship, because having somebody that they don’t have a relationship with saying, “You need to think about this, you need to think about that,” they’re a bit like, “What do you know?” But kind of, once you have that relationship, I’m actually always slightly taken aback sometimes by the questions that the young people [ask] like, “do you think this?” or “what do you think?” And, you know, including about, you know, about sex and relationships. I mean, sometimes I think, “Oh, am I blushing? But I think I’m also kind of really impressed with their honesty and…. They’re just kids as well, they’re kind of they’re not problems. They’re just these lovely kids who have sometimes taken a wrong turn or made a couple of bad decisions. And all kids do that. But for some of these young people, the bad decisions have led to such serious consequences for them. And many of them come from very loving families, I have to say, who have tried incredibly hard to support them. And some have not had such great family experiences. But the really common thread is terrible educational experiences. And I think that is been so damaging for them. Some of these kids, I’m not kidding, they’re entrepreneurs. But outside of mainstream – they’re amazing, you know – but obviously, they’re involved in some risky stuff and illegal stuff, you know, there’s no getting away from that. But that doesn’t mean that these aren’t extremely bright, articulate, capable, boys and young men. But for them to try and get a job when they haven’t got any qualifications because they’ve been kicked out of school or they have a criminal record. And they’re scared to say they’ve had a criminal record as well. So often, when I meet a young person, and you start to see them wanting to make some changes, it’s very hard for them to shift their lifestyle into line with this kind of “you get up at eight o’clock you go to a job,” and this timing, because they find that you know….time there’s lots of anxiety as well, that affects how they can kind of, you know, get into a routine.

Talking about young people and youth violence and things like that. But whole thing that you’re talking about is partly of how much they have to do before they leave the house. The thoughts that are going on in their heads because the hats, the coats and this. Sometime it’s like, they say to me, “Judith, you can’t dress a certain way, when you go to certain places, you can’t because they’ll think you’re from this and that”. So they have to figure out so much before they leave that house you know, I totally get that time thing as well.

Yeah think that’s that’s really spot on. I mean, one of the young people I’ve worked with my commute for two years. I always have to factor in at least 45 minutes to wait for him. From my point of view, that’s the nature of my job. So it’s not that he’s rude but when I’ve actually been in the house waiting for him to leave. He goes upstairs, downstairs, I’ve forgotten this, this hat isn’t right.

Denise 24:54
I mean, it’s funny because I was just gonna say I was talking about getting T shirts printed with borough on it and I was told, “What are you doing?” It won’t work, especially in this climate now.

Judith 25:07
What’s funny is that I had a t shirt, it must have been about three years ago. And it was called “Enough is enough.” And it had every single borough and those kids wore them.

Denise 25:18
So that’s yeah, that’s yeah, that just…not having it as a singular.

Judith 25:22
No, not a single. Yeah. But yeah, every single had a circle and it had “Enough is enough.” And every single borough. Beautiful. I think for young people, they want to not think about postcode. You can’t help where you live. And where you live? You’re one little person in that, in that area, wherever. Because if there’s an estate there, and there’s somebody running that estate, and they’re bigger than you, then it’s a postcode issue. Other people come in, and you can’t help where you are. Sometimes I said to my own boys, you almost have to act like a geek. And they did that they had to do that to survive, because it’s how you dress, how you look, how you’re approached? And you’ve got a rucksack on your back, glasses on your face, looking a bit strange, no one wants to even talk to you.

Julia 26:15
College ID, that’s the other one.

Denise 26:20
So there’s a whole…there’s so many things that come into this..

Julia 26:24
But we can see, and once again, we’re talking about young people, all these things that they have to go. I don’t have to think about half those things getting up. So I’m just saying that when we talk about youth violence or violence in general and carrying a knife, there’s a lot more behind it. And there’s a lot more as services that we could be doing, in regards to raising awareness. And the whole thing around young people, they make mistakes, they go inside, but some of them do, well, they do education inside. Is that recognised outside?

I think it depends on who they do it with. But I think…

Judith 26:58
Because they’re still coming from inside…

Julia 27:00
One young person had been doing a bookkeeping course and accounting. Now he’s doing a degree through the Open University in business. This is a young person who’s actually been in and out of custody since he was 14, extremely bright, young man. And actually, and this is what kind of breaks my heart a bit: he does come from a very kind of fractured kind of family is. He is almost able to function and achieve more in that, that the rigid confines of a custodial system. And when he comes out, even though he hates in there, when he comes out, he really he’ll acknowledge “I find it really hard” to impose his own kind of regime and discipline kind of on himself. But he had been intending to go to college, but he just felt so different from all the other college because at his experiences were so different, as well. I think often young people are worried about if “I go to” – even if they go to college out of borough – you suddenly realise that, you know, kids from Islington are being sent to outer boroughs to Walthamstow and Enfield. And then at some point, they’re just with quite a few kids from Islington. And they didn’t know, you know, that. Sometimes, the checks aren’t done completely or somebody goes through the crack and they don’t know. And then they’re like, “That’s it. I’m not going, I’m not going it’s not safe.” But I think, kind of, going back to that bit about the postcodes. I have worked with a young man for quite a long time from the north of the borough who never – it wasn’t just that he didn’t leave Islington, he didn’t leave his bit of Islington. So, you know, one Christmas, I said, “Let’s go out of the borough.” I have a great manager in our team, who agreed to fund a cab. We went down to the South Bank. When we first kind of got down there, there were lots of people running, jogging along the South Bank, and he’s going like this [jumping] the whole time. And it really brought it home to me how on edge he was, how hyper vigilant, hyper alert. You know, he’d been very seriously stabbed when he was younger, and seen a lot of violence. And he kind of kept jumping the whole time. And that obviously there were police around and he kept saying, “Why are so many?” I said it’s because it’s a tourist area. And he’s like, he was so on edge and for a bit. I thought, “Oh, this is been a terrible mistake. I’m not sure.” But actually, we just kept walking and walking. And after a bit, he started to relax. And he was like, “Yeah, no one cares who I am!” Like, it was like a real revelation to him.

Denise 28:17
But it was the anxiety…

Julia 29:27
Yeah. And he said, “it must be so good to live places where no one knows who you are.” And I was like, “Yeah, no, I know.” So, I mean, we were kind of, I think, we got there about 6pm and at 10pm I was like “Right, I’m going to get you a cab.” But he was really just wanting to walk and walk. It was like it felt like a breath of fresh air, I think, to him. And sometimes I think in terms of how we work with young people is taking them to …there’s nothing like, “Oh, this is what it feels like…

Denise 29:56
Outside of their comfort zone

Julia 29:58
One of the things we’ve always done, I mean, I’m bringing it back in, the residentials. And I’ve worked with some hard to reach young people I took out a places. We went south of France, we’ve been to all kinds of places all over the world. And it’s made such an impact. Whether or not wherever their life took them, they don’t forget those experiences. The experiences where they were free, they didn’t have to look over their shoulder, the fresh air, the greenery, the animals, things that they just don’t really see. Like you said, and someone can live in Archway, Cally, and not come out of that section. That shouldn’t be like that. So for me, it’s about taking young people out of their environment into something really different. And showing them that there’s more to it than just Islington or whatever. And I think that just more that needs to be.

Denise 30:45
So what one thing do you want people to take away from this episode?

Judith 30:52
I want people to listen, listen to what we’ve said, understand young people more talk to young people. That’s another thing, talk to them and just, you know, find out for them, ask them questions, treat them like human beings, like everybody else. I think, you know, they’re more intelligent than people give them. So yeah, just you know, yeah, communicate.

Julia 31:10
Oh, one thing that’s quite difficult, I think. Judith is absolutely right. I think in some things more specific: much earlier intervention, that is before young people, that is just about giving them enriching experiences, and, you know, kind of from primary school onwards about building their self esteem and self worth. And I think there is a huge issue with the relationship with young people in the police in Britain, specifically in relation to carrying knives. And I think the vast majority of young people carry knives because they don’t feel safe, not because they’re looking to go and hurt somebody.

Denise 31:45
So thank you very much. So what we’ve talked about and actually I was gonna just sum it up, but you’ve just done it perfectly for me. So I’m just gonna say consistency is key, communication and intervention very early on in primary school. Thank you. Thank you very much.

Thank you

So listeners, thank you for listening to Uniting Against Violence, the podcast about reducing serious youth violence in our communities. Hopefully, you’ve heard and learned a lot from what’s been said. We’ve put useful links for the things we’ve talked about today in this episode description. If you found this episode useful, please subscribe, share, and like on socials at Uniting Against Violence. If you’d like to get in touch with us, you can also email us at unitingagainstviolence@gmail.com.  That’s unitingagainstviolence@gmail.com. So reducing violence is a big topic. And we know we can’t cover everything and every perspective. So if you are listening to this thinking about something we’ve missed, please, we encourage you to start conversations where you are. Together, we can unite against violence. So today’s episode was co-produced by Sabrina Jackman and Sarah Hutt. Guest speakers was Judith Samuel and Julia Jenkinson with editing by Sarah Hutt and the host was me Denise Marshall. Special thanks to our partners, Islington and Camden Council’s, Public Health, The Parent House and Crux, and our funder, the Mayor of London, as well as of course LIFT Islington and our guest speakers. So once again, thank you for listening and tune in for our next episode. 

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