I am a mum...I have one daughter of my own and two step sons all my children are between the 10-15 years of age. As with all parents I worry about my children constantly as they grow up, I want to know where they are, who they are with, how long they will be when out and what time they need picking up, have they got their mobile phones etc, all the things that parents think of every day. From when they were little I always taught them to never speak to strangers, always stay with the person your suppose to be with but never really thought about the more sinister things such as people carrying knives and knife crimes, I suppose I was someone who preferred to believe that this sort of crime doesn’t happen in the area where I live, but in reality it couldn’t be further from the truth! When I think about it, I have read many articles in the local papers about knife crimes happening just a few miles from my door but still hadn’t really paid it the attention it really deserved and certainly didn’t realise just how much of a real threat Knife crime is becoming
That was until last year, I was sitting down at tea time watching the local news with my daughter, when I recognised a lady on the television which immediately grabbed my attention. I couldn’t believe my ears when I listened to the news report and would never in a million years have imagined the tragic story that was to follow, which had deeply affected this lady’s life and those of everyone around her, turning her world upside down.
I then realised where I knew this lady from, I saw her nearly every day taking her grand-daughter to school which happened to be the same school as my daughter attends. This actually made her plight even harder to believe, bringing with it a devastating realisation that this sort of thing could happen so close to home!
Just one year previously, Ann Oakes-Odger’s (the lady from the news report) lost her son to a violent knife attack whilst he was standing at a cash machine on a busy shopping parade; the attack didn’t happen in the middle of the night as you would expect, it happened in broad daylight in the middle of a summer afternoon. A totally unprovoked attack which inflicted a single stab wound to the neck which he didn’t survive. This shocked me and made me aware that it can happen to anyone, anywhere without warning or motive, which I find a very scary thought!
How would you carry on?
I personally couldn’t even for one second imagine how it must feel to loose your child in this manner, let alone imagine how you could ever carry on living life when you know that the people who did this to your child, friend, loved one, whomever, are still very much alive, not only that but serving a sentence that couldn’t even possibly meet the crime, often having their sentences reduced!!! It should be, in my opinion tougher laws and stricter sentences which should be being applied. Not reduced time for good behavior!
More Must Be Done in Schools!
I would like to see more being done in schools to make children aware of knife crime and the consequences of carrying or worse still using knives. I watched the Metropolitan Police awareness message about knife crimes – “It’s not a game” with my 15 year old son, its quite hard hitting and certainly gets the message across when its on the screen but I was surprised when I asked my son what he thought about it, he pointed out that he thought he would take more notice of the message if a police officer or someone in authority was to actually talk about it within the school environment as a lesson.
Parents need to make themselves more aware nowadays. This no longer should be a Taboo subject as it is something that could affect any one of us at any time without warning. My son is set to go to a football match this weekend with his mates and although he is 15, I will make sure that he will have his mobile fully charged, enough money for the bus and make sure that he stays with his group of friends. (I’m not implying that a football match isn’t a safe place, it’s just an example of places where children want to go as they become more independent).
I just feel as parents we need to make our children aware, wrapping them in cotton wool and hoping the problem will go away, or merely seeing it as someone else’s problem isn’t going to help. We can’t be with our children 24 hours a day, and as they grow older, needing more independence, the only thing we can do is teach them well and make them aware that the outside world is a harsh place. Trying to convey this message without scaring them is the hard part, but the element that this is a very real thing is probably enough for most children. As Parents we teach our children to be about the birds and the bees, we wouldn’t dream of not doing our bit there, making sure they practice safe sex etc lets face it Pregnancy although unwanted is probably the nicest thing you can catch these days, so making our children more aware of knife crime, and the not-so-pleasant things in life should therefore be no different in preparing our children for the wide world ahead.
Stricter Laws and Tougher Sentencing...
I totally support Ann in her plight to bring about stricter laws and tougher sentencing for knife-crimes, and hope and pray that I will never have to go through what she has. I find her a total inspiration, having the courage to carry on and fight for justice, not just for her but for everyone who has either been a victim of knife crimes or the people who are left behind to pick up the pieces of their lives.
Mrs S A Smith - Colchester
Since the foregoing letter from Mrs S. A Smith was received by KnifeCrimes.Org the founder Ann Oakes-Odger's Campaign achieved Law Changes and preventative education in UK Schools. Full details here:
E. & O.E.