We woke up to news of another senseless stabbing, which resulted in a teenager left to die on the streets of London. It is February 15th 2018 and the number of young people that have been murdered by knives in the capital city is already in double figures.
What is being done to prevent this epidemic that is plaguing the streets and taking young lives away?
Who's responsible for ensuring young people are safe on the street, Parents? Police? Teachers? Youth Workers?
At Oxygen we have been running an anti-knife project called 'Whats the point?' for the past five years and feel the need for more prevention and intervention work than ever before.
Our projects works with young people where they are at in their life journeys and we aim to challenge, encourage, support and love them as they navigate their way through the difficult teenage years.
In our previous group there were three teenagers who had already been stabbed and one young person who had been arrested for carrying a weapon and possession of drugs. This has been our most challenging group to date but since our project finished, one of those boys has gone on to become a school prefect and another has won an award for excellence.
While this is an encouragement, imagine how many other lives could be transformed and prolonged by investing time in our young people, improving relationships between the police and local communities and equipping parents to deal with these issues. Sadly unless there in a real community involvement we will continue to see terrifying statistics and newspaper headlines for many years to come.
What can you do?
Firstly, listen to the young people in your community and encourage them to think further into the future than what happens if they don’t attend a party or hang out with their mates after school.
Secondly, pray for the work of youth workers and other professionals working alongside these young people.
Finally, get advice from professionals and equip your community to protect our young people from the dangers they see around them every day. Our heart has to be to see more young people safe from harm. Let’s pray we can have an impact in the lives of those who could easily be the next name in a terrifying news story.
Adam Kelly is knife crime project leader for Oxygen