UK

Brooke Kinsella says schools must tackle youth violence

  • 31 October 2010
  • From the section UK
Media captionBrooke Kinsella: ''It's about prevention and education''

Anti-violence campaigner Brooke Kinsella says pupils should learn more in school about gun and knife crime.

The ex-EastEnders star, whose brother Ben was stabbed to death in 2008, recently became a government adviser.

She has reported to the government on whether projects aimed at tackling youth violence are working

"It's the real people on the streets that are going to be able to provide the solutions," she told the BBC Politics Show.

Ms Kinsella has been a vocal campaigner on the issue of youth violence since her 16-year-old brother Ben was stabbed 11 times on a night out in Holloway, north London.

Appointing her as an adviser earlier this year, Prime Minister David Cameron said she brought "passion and insight" to the role.

'Fear and fashion'

Since her appointment, Ms Kinsella has sat in on education sessions, met youth mentors and spent time talking to young people.

She told the BBC that teenagers appeared to carry weapons for two main reasons - "fear and fashion".

"The majority of the kids are in the fear camp, where they literally are scared for their life and they feel they have to carry a weapon for their own protection," she said.

"Then there's sadly the fashion element, where it's sometimes seen to be cool to carry a weapon. If you're in a gang or there's peer pressure, it's almost glamorous."

She said she believed schools should play a much bigger role in tackling the problem.

"You know, in schools we have drug awareness and sexual health awareness and I don't see why we can't have some kind of knife and gun crime project that's part of the curriculum

"I think a lot of schools are worried that if they bring in knife crime projects it might be seen that the school's got a problem and they'll get a bad reputation and parents won't want to send their kids there, and I completely understand that, but for me it's about prevention and education."

Ms Kinsella - who played Kelly Taylor in EastEnders from 2001 to 2004 - said she hoped her report would lead to real reform.

"I have to think that something's going to make a difference because otherwise I would just want to give up and cry," she said.

"And you're not going to get the answers - or the solutions - better than talking to young people. Some of the people I've met, they're actually advising police on the best ways to stop-and-search.

"That's why anyone in power or in government must use them when they're dealing with this."

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