Anti-knife violence lessons for holidays

By Sean Coughlan
BBC News education and family correspondent

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The lessons want to reduce the risk of teenagers getting involved in knife crime during the summer holidays

Teenagers in England are being given lessons in school to reduce the risk of knife violence in the summer holidays.

End-of-term activities might be expected to be sports days, school trips and concerts, but the Home Office is providing anti-knife lessons.

They are telling young people not to believe the "myth" that it is safer for them to carry a knife.

Crime Minister Victoria Atkins said young people need to be kept safe from the "rise in serious violence".

With the end of term approaching, secondary schools are giving safety lessons from the Home Office designed to reduce the risk of stabbings during the long hot summer holidays.

'Rising violence'

The lessons, for 11 to 16-year-olds, warn young people not to believe everything they see on social media, and that it is false to believe most other youngsters have knives or that carrying a knife is a form of self-defence.

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There have been many high-profile incidents involving young people and knife crime

Teenagers are being told about how a culture of gangs, knives and violence could ruin their future, and how to resist peer pressure.

The anti-knife lessons are being taught through personal, health and social education classes, with the Home Office providing information to 50,000 subject specialists.

Knife crime increased by 22% last year in England and Wales, according to the Office for National Statistics, with almost 40,000 offences involving a knife or sharp instrument - and there has been a series of high-profile fatal stabbings involving young people, particularly in London.

'Devastating consequences'

The House of Commons library published figures from hospitals last month showing more than 4,400 injuries from sharp objects last year needing to be treated by consultants - up by almost 22% compared with two years before.

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The lessons are meant to prevent the harm caused by knife violence

The knife crime lessons are part of a wider Home Office strategy to deter young people from carrying knives, and to reduce acts of serious violence.

"The summer holidays can pose additional dangers to young people, which is why we are determined to do everything we can to keep them safe and give them the tools and resilience they need to enjoy the summer break," said Ms Atkins.

Children's Minister Nadhim Zahawi backed the lessons, saying "knife crime has devastating consequences" and that children and families need to be protected from its threat.

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