Community News

Looking after yourself and others: Updated information for parents and carers 

Following the recent tragic deaths of teenagers Max and Mason in the community of Knowle West, there have been some other, unrelated, knife crimes in Bristol.

On 14th February 16-year-old Darrian Williams died. It is shocking that there has been the death of another child in our city and our thoughts go to Darrian’s family.

Avon and Somerset police appreciate you may have significant concerns about the safety of your child.

The police are fully committed to bringing those responsible to justice and significant resources are in place to make sure that happens. Two teenage boys have been charged in connection with Darrian’s death.

Knowle West Alliance has put together some information based on letters issued to parents and carers, via schools, from Bristol City Council and Avon and Somerset Police.

KEEPING YOUR CHILD SAFE 

Knife crime is a high-profile topic, with cases reported online and, in the news, regularly. 

Many of these incidents have involved young people. Knife crime is not the norm “in reality 99 per cent of young people do not carry knives”. The cases in the news are usually isolated incidents between people who know each other. Avon and Somerset Police Protect yourself and others from Knife crime. Avon and Somerset Police – protect yourself and others from knife crime

However, knife crime is a real concern within many communities, and it may be something you are worried about. 

TALKING ABOUT KNIFE CRIME OR KNIFE CARRYING IS PART OF THE SOLUTION 

It is understandable that parents, carers and your children will be concerned about what’s happened. Some children’s behaviour may not have changed, while others may have lots of questions, or may be avoiding discussion. No matter how your child is reacting, talking about knife crime or knife carrying is part of the solution and can help save lives.  

Parents and carers are encouraged to all have age-appropriate conversations with your children at home, to help them understand what’s happened and what they can do if they’re feeling worried. Actively talking about the incidents and knife crime at home will also means that if they do have any worries, they’re more likely to come and speak to you.  

There are lots of different organisations that can help you with age-appropriate conversations.  

If you suspect grooming or exploitation, you can report this directly to CEOP Child Exploitation and Online Protection) 

Grooming 

Grooming is when someone builds a relationship, trust and emotional connection with a child or young person so they can manipulate, exploit and abuse them. Children and young people can be groomed online or in the real world, by a stranger or by someone they know. If you are worried the NSPCC have information to help – LINK 

Exploitation 

Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) is a type of sexual abuse. It happens when a child or young person is coerced, manipulated or deceived into sexual activity in exchange for things that they may need or want like gifts, drugs, money, status and affection. Children and young people are often tricked into believing they’re in a loving and consensual relationship. If you are worried the NSPCC have information to help – LINK 

You can find general advice for talking about difficult topics on the NSPCC website, there are also places to go for age-specific advice:  

For under-11s  

Resources like Talk PANTS will help – with the help of a friendly dinosaur Pantosauras Talk PANTS is a simple conversation to help keep your child safe from sexual abuse. 

Make sure you’re using language they can understand.  

Talking to older children and teenagers 

Their needs and behaviour will be changing and they may find talking to you about difficult topics embarrassing. They will still look to you for support, so it’s worth continuing to check in with them regularly, even if there’s nothing they want to talk about. There are some tips in the NSPCC’s Positive Parenting guide and on its page on talking about difficult topics. You will also find information on Action for children website.

Concerned about a child

If you’re concerned about the well-being of a child, please contact Bristol City council’s First Response Team on 0117 903 6444.  

Barnardo’s ROUTES service supports young people at the highest risk of exploitation or violence including young people who have been hurt before or risk hurting others. They work with young people up to 21. You can self-refer by contacting them directly on 0117 9349726.  

The NSPCC have advice for parents and carers on how to spot the signs of potential exploitation and how to talk to a young person you’re worried about.

Some of the signs you can look out for include:  

  • going missing from home, staying out late and travelling for unexplained reasons  
  • in a relationship or hanging out with someone older than them  
  • being angry, aggressive or violent  
  • being isolated or withdrawn  
  • having unexplained money and buying new things  
  • wearing clothes or accessories in gang colours or getting tattoos  
  • using new slang words  
  • spending more time on social media and being secretive about time online  
  • making more calls or sending more texts, possibly on a new phone or phones  

Action for Children: I’m worried about my child and knife crime: I’m worried about my child and knife crime.

The Ben Kinsella Trust has a free guide to knife harm for parents and carers on talking to your child about knife harm and provides practical help and guidance on what to do.  

Help and support  

There is help available for people who have been impacted by recent events and are experiencing a reaction associated with trauma.  

Common signs of the impacts of trauma include:  

  • feeling unable or not having anyone to talk to about what happened  
  • poor sleep due to intrusive thoughts or disturbing dreams  
  • experiencing overwhelming emotions or feeling numb  
  • feeling as if your relationships are suffering since the incident.  

In the first instance, it’s important that if someone’s wellbeing or mental health is suffering they call 101 or contact their GP.  

CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE 

Childline: – support for any worries online, on the phone, anytime: Call 0800 1111 

LOCAL YOUTH ORGANISATIONS  

 Youth Moves, The Park Centre, BS4 1DQ Youth Moves telephone 0117 363 4969 email info@youthmoves.org.uk  

Street Space, 43 Filwood Broadway, Bristol, BS4 1JL Street Space Email streetspaceknowle@gmail.com 

Local schools, rework, KWMC young people’s team, Learning Partnership West – are all working with their young people to offer support. 

SOCIAL MEDIA  

Bristol Association of Head Teachers and Principals have shared the following information for parents and carers: 

 “It would be helpful if you could monitor closely your child’s social media activity. We are aware of unhelpful social media posts circulating, which are largely sharing misinformation or rumouring. Whilst we do not for one moment think that our children are the source of the posts, we advise that under no circumstances should they share, like or comment on such posts. 

Carrying a weapon increases the risk of being injured or injuring others. Have the conversation about the consequences. Be available and ready to listen and encourage young people to share their fears.” 

KNIFE BIN 

There is a knife bin at The Park on Daventry Road, BS4.

Anyone can safely and anonymously dispose of a knife, blade or other weapon. Once deposited in the bin then it will be secure until it is removed by professionals. The bin has been specifically designed to offer maximum safety.