Publications · Young People
Why carry a weapon?
Why carry a weapon? A study of knife crime amongst 15-17 year old males in London
Publisher: The Howard League for Penal Reform
Written by Nicola Marfleet, this book draws upon the views of young people to assess the lack of success in addressing knife crime and identifies strategies for quelling the trends in knife crime.
The book’s findings demonstrate that children start carrying knives early, with London boys significantly at risk of entering into weapon carrying from as young as 11 years. Reasons given by the young people interviewed for carrying knives were based around protection, fear and thanticipation of being attacked, as well as experiences of personal victimisation. Other reasons revealed by the interviews include poor parental ties, which had arguably been replaced by the strong social ties of a gang. Gangs also offered the young people protection. The children interviewed described how they felt there was inadequate protection
offered them by ‘natural’ adult protectors such as teachers, the police or their parents.
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