Violence Reduction Alliance

The Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Violence Reduction Alliance (VRA) has funded two online workshops for parents and carers on gangs, exploitation and knife crime which will be delivered by the Ben Kinsella Trust on Tuesday 12 March and Monday 18 March.

The free workshops will cover topics such as the influence of social media, the signs and stages of exploitation, and how we can prevent young people from being affected by knife crime as parents, carers and as a community.

Staffordshire Commissioner for Police, Fire & Rescue and Crime, and Chair of the VRA, Ben Adams said:

“Overall crime rates in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent are well below national and regional averages; however, it is important we keep focus on preventing violence before it begins, to further reduce crime levels and protect people from harm.

“Knife crime has devastating impacts on not just the people involved but on families and the wider community. It is important as parents that we are aware of the risks to our children and that we have the tools and knowledge to help keep them safe.”

In 2023, the VRA engaged with parents and carers living across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent to better understand their views and concerns around community safety and the help and support available to them on keeping their child safe. The final report highlighted that 46% of respondents ranked ‘knife crime/carrying an offensive weapon’ as their top concern and 70% of respondents did not feel they had the correct tools and knowledge to start a conversation with their child about this topic.

To support parents, the Ben Kinsella Trust workshops will cover:

  • An understanding of what gangs are, how they operate and why
  • Language and slang
  • Signs and stages of County lines & Child exploitation
  • Online risks for young people, social media
  • Trauma involved in gang activity
  • What is “regular/normal” behaviour vs cause for concern with young people
  • Why exploited/at risk children might resist help and how to overcome this
  • How we can prevent exploitation/knife carrying as parents and as a community
  • Resources and support available from the Ben Kinsella Trust and other organisations

Chief Inspector David Barrow, Staffordshire Police Lead for knife crime, said:

“It’s vitally important that we continue to highlight and encourage conversations around knife crime within our communities.

“The workshops organised will encourage open and honest discussions about knife crime. We also need parents to speak to their children about the issues, about their thoughts around it and explain the consequences of carrying a knife.

“While some young people pick up a knife to feel safer, they don’t realise that carrying it makes them more likely to get into serious danger. A knife can escalate things way out of your control, and make a bad situation much worse.

“We need to work together – it requires the commitment, not only of a range of agencies, but also of the communities of Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent to prevent the loss of life and permanent physical and psychological damage that serious violence can cause.”

The workshops will be delivered via Zoom, secure your space via the links below:

Tuesday 12 March, 18:00pm – 19:00pm

Monday 18 March, 19:00pm – 20:00pm

To find out more visit: Ben Kinsella Awareness Workshops – Violence Reduction Alliance


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