Background

Jenny: I was worried about my pal. He was being badly bullied and was very quiet and withdrawn, "Are you ok?"

James "Have you seen what those numpties say they're gonae dae tae me?"

Everyone has their own reasons for carrying, but it doesn't make you safer...I started carrying because I thought everyone else was. I felt safer when I was out of my own area If I was carrying...I was wrong. If I hadn't had a knife it would have just been a regular fight and no-one would have been stabbed.

Jenny: So, I decided to call it in anonymously to FEARLESS/ There was nae danger I was letting anything bad happen to one of my besties. When James told me he was carrying I freaked out. It was a really bad idea to carry a knife.

When Jenny Stepped In

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Challenges

DIRECT
James shows Jenny the knife in his pocket. "Don't tell anyone."

Jenny: "Are you aff yer heid? You could get killed or done for murder!"

We went somewhere quiet. If we could just talk through some options...I thought it would help. "Just avoid them. Or maybe you could come and hang out with me and the squad...Don't let them get tae ye" The time wasn't right. I could tell he wasn't ready to have a real chat, so I said: " Hey, let's just forget about them. You can chum me to the cinema." While I was there I was thinking about how we could talk about it again later.

DISTRACT & DELEGATE
Jenny: His brother had always been popular and could handle the Radges and the Rockets, so I spoke to him about the knife.

"Robert, I'm scared your brother's gonnae end up hurt or hurting someone else...I think he's more likely to listen to you than me."

I began taking a mental note in case it wasn't a one-off. "James, that's three days in the last week. I'm really getting scared you're going to use it!...Let's talk about how you can stop carrying..."
A few days later: "It's been going on nearly a week. You've got to do something."

DOCUMENT & DELAY
Even after the person gives up carrying, don't give up on doing something. Talk to them, check out they're okay and be a friend! Always remember it's not normal and don't treat as if it is. Get your friends to look out for each other.

Life Lessons

Try to directly intervene before things get out of hand. If you act early enough you could stop a lot of trauma later on. Things like involvement in gangs, drinking or drugs can escalate.

First: Acknowledge your friend's reality. Value their experience.
Second: Explain that their reality isn't everyone's experience. It can change for the better.
Third: Ask them to think of someone they admire who is not involved - a role model.
Fourth: Offer support to change and choose a non-violent lifestyle. Give them hope that another way is possible.
Fifth: Extra help is available. Find a youth worker, teacher pr adult that can help your friend get the help they need.
Sixth: Try giving up the things that cause stress and worry and replace them with more positive things like a new hobby, a new friend, volunteering, a training course - something that moves you away from the people that are getting you/your friend involved in violence.