New anti-violence campaign reveals true stories of Nottinghamshire teenagers

An all-new social media campaign has been launched – drawing on the real-life experiences of Nottinghamshire teenagers impacted by gang crime and violence.

Tuesday, 28th September 2021, 10:36 am
Updated Tuesday, 28th September 2021, 10:36 am
Natalie Baker-Swift with the commissioner and young people who took part in the videos.

#Stopviolence is a project funded by Nottingham City and Nottinghamshire's Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) to speak to young people in their own language and medium to shatter myths about knife crime and exploitation.

Four new films, co-produced by young people, were unveiled at a special screening at the Broadway Cinema, attended by Nottinghamshire Police and Crime Commissioner Caroline Henry, VRU board members, local leaders and stakeholders and young people involved in the production.

The films, which are now being released across social media platforms, explore themes of cuckooing/exploitation, trauma, online exploitation and girls in gangs and contain frank and often harrowing accounts of young lives lived in the grip of fear.

Commissioner Henry, who was a guest speaker at the event, added: "As you will see from the videos – there is a raw authenticity to the content, which while it may be harrowing in places, it has already shown that it can reach a vast number of children and young people in Nottinghamshire who may be experiencing similar issues.

"Furthermore, it helps us, as leaders and members of the community, to gain a glimpse into their lives, contributing to a better understanding of how we can support them as individuals and as valuable community members themselves, to thrive.”

Natalie Baker-Swift, interim head of the VRU, said: "We knew that we wanted a campaign that would have youth voice at its heart, that was absolutely authentic and that would unapologetically address the key themes connected to serious violence and exploitation.

"The stories and experiences are real and it is expressed in their language, using their voice.

Superintendent Kathryn Craner, Nottinghamshire Police's knife crime lead, said: "These films give young people an insight into the realities of knife crime and other types of crime we work hard to tackle every day working closely with our partners.

"We were very pleased to provide access to our knife crime team in support of this campaign and I hope it will help shed even more light on the support which is available to vulnerable people.

"While the latest official figures show that knife crime has reduced significantly in Nottinghamshire, every incident has the potential to be serious and can be incredibly upsetting for the community. That is why we are committed to our continued reduction in knife crime, including an intensive programme of education in schools and community work with partners across Nottinghamshire."

Young people were involved in every stage of the campaign's delivery from determining key messages and storylines to taking part in acting, production and promotion.

Content for the films was generated during youth focus groups and discussions with young people aged 18-29 who have been involved with or were on the periphery of gang activity or have had a knife-related or violent crime experience in the past.

The campaign, which runs over eight weeks, signposts young people and their parents to support services and helplines to address violent behaviour and guides people on how to report crime.

It is backed by a dedicated website, the 30-minute documentary film and a poster awareness campaign across the city and county's bus stops and public spaces.​​​​​​​